Clinical Trials

Everything we know about cancer treatment today is because of people who have participated in previous clinical trials.  The more people who participate in clinical trials, the faster we can get the answers we need to cure cancer.  Why should a cancer patient consider a clinical trial?  Cancer treatment clinical trials are organized research studies involving people who have cancer.  They try to answer specific questions to find better ways to prevent, detect, treat or improve care for our cancer patients.  In many cancer treatment trials, one treatment is compared with another.  When one treatment is compared with another, patients either receive the most advanced and accepted treatment for the kind of cancer they have (the standard treatment) or a new treatment that has shown promise of being at least as good as the standard treatment, if not better.  We don’t know which treatment is better when the study starts.  In almost all cancer treatment clinical trials, patients receive treatment for their cancer.  Patients do not receive a placebo (sugar pill) for their treatment unless there is no standard treatment for that particular cancer

Patients often have fears about participating in clinical trials.  These fears can be the biggest barrier to participating in these cancer treatment options.  Many of these fears are unfounded but are strong enough in the general population to slow down the pace of cancer research.  Some of the myths that are often talked about are

  • Patients in clinical trials are treated like guinea pigs.  When asked in a survey about their care and treatment, 97% of patients state they were treated with dignity and respect. 
  • You need to be near a big hospital to take part in a clinical trial.  Under the direction of Dr. Matt Rees patients are offered the option of participating in a clinical trial when one is available for their particular type of cancer.  Treatment is given right here in Rutherford County.
  • Once I sign a consent form that’s it.  I can’t back out.  Any patient who is in a clinical trial is able to change their mind AT ANY TIME without giving up access to other treatment. 

Since 1999 Rutherford Regional has partnered with Upstate Carolina CCOP to provide opportunities for patients to be involved in clinical trials. This gives patients the opportunity to receive cutting edge treatment.  The Marsha & Jimmy Gibbs Regional Cancer Center of the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System offers patients access to the latest cancer treatments and trials through the Upstate Carolina Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP), often before they are available in other places.  Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System formed an affiliation with MD Anderson Physicians Network(R) (MDAPN) to further enhance the level of cancer care available in the Upstate and also serves as a member of the National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP).

In 2010, 6 patients chose to participate in a clinical trial.  Our commitment to offer “cutting edge” treatment to our cancer patients will continue to include access to clinical trials.