Clinical Trials

Oncology Research Department

The Oncology Research Department at The Queen’s Medical Center aims to improve cancer care in Hawaii by supporting cancer research. Our department consists of seven full-time employees, dedicated to implementing and carrying out oncology clinical trials at our institution. 

Queen’s and the University of Hawaii Cancer Center (UHCC) are members of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). The goal of NCORP is to bring cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery research to people in their own communities to improve patient outcomes and reduce cancer disparities.

Our department offers research studies that are available through the NCI National Cancer Trials Network and pharmaceutical companies, and local investigators.. With the input of our experienced oncologists, trials are selected that show promise and potential benefit to our patients. Once a trial is chosen, our staff works closely with the sponsor and regulatory boards to make the study available to our patients. All research studies must be approved by the Community Research Advocacy Board and the Protocol Review Monitoring Committee. to ensure that the trials are scientifically sound and that the patient is being protected.

Our research nurses screen patients to find those who would be eligible and may potentially benefit from participating in a clinical trial. The nurses assist the physicians in the consent process. to ensure the patient fully understands the research study. Once enrolled onto trial, the nurse acts as a resource for the patient, following them through their study treatment, ensuring compliance with the study protocol and good clinical practice

What is a Clinical Trial?

Oncology clinical trials are essential for testing the safety and effectiveness of new treatments that may benefit cancer patients. A clinical trial is a research study that aims to improve cancer care by finding better ways we can treat, diagnose, and prevent cancer. Clinical trials are classified based on the four clinical phases of development of a new drug or treatment.

Phases

Phase I: (15 – 30 people take part)
Phase I clinical trials look to find a safe dose for patients. The method of how a treatment should be given is also decided in this phase, along with looking at the effects the treatment has on the body.

Phase II: (Less than 100 people take part)
Looks to find if the treatment works to fight a certain type of cancer and continues to look at how the treatment affects the body.

Phase III: (Thousands of people take part)
Looks to see if the new treatment or the new way treatment is being used works better than that of standard care. 

Phase IV: (Hundreds to thousands of people take part)
Looks at the long-term effects of the new treatment including safety and how well the new treatment works.

Types of Trials

There are many types of clinical trials that may be available. 

Prevention trials: look at ways to prevent cancer.
Screening trials: study different ways to find cancer.
Diagnostic trials: compare new tests to the standard tests currently being used to identify cancer.
Treatment trials: tests new treatments, drugs, or ways to combine standard treatments in a more effective manner.

Participation

Each Clinical Trial has a specific set of requirements for participation. You may be able to take part in a clinical trial based on the type of cancer you have, the stage of your cancer, your age, whether or not you have received treatment in the past, and many other factors. If you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial, the study doctor and nurses will check to make sure you fit all the requirements and that the treatment on trial is right for you.

How to Get Involved

If you are interested in getting involved in a clinical trial, our department can be reached at 808-691-8548. Your doctor or study nurse can also contact us, and help determine if a clinical trial is right for you!

Risk & Benefits

There are both risks and benefits to participating in clinical trials. It is important to know that the treatment you receive on trial may not be as good as the standard treatment, and that the treatment may not work for you specifically. These new treatments might also have side effects that are not currently known. There is also a possibility of additional appointments or testing on a clinical trial.. Clinical trials offer high-quality cancer care and provide additional treatment option considerations.. The new treatments may be more effective than standard care, and you may be among the first to benefit if you choose to participate. Many of the standard treatments today are a result of clinical trials done in the past; by choosing to take part in a clinical trial, you are helping to improve cancer treatment.

On the other hand, clinical trials offer high-quality cancer care and provide treatment options that you may not have otherwise had. The new treatments may be more effective than standard care, and you may be among the first to benefit if you choose to participate. Many of the standard treatments today are a result of clinical trials done in the past; by choosing to take part in a clinical trial, you are helping to improve cancer treatment.

Questions to Ask

Before agreeing to participate in a clinical trial, you should be sure you understand your role as a participant, and have all your questions answered. Here a few things you should be sure to ask your study doctor or nurse:

  1. Why is this clinical trial being done?
    Understand why your doctor thinks this treatment may be more effective than the standard.
  2. What does the new treatment involve?
    Understand how the treatment is given to you.
  3. What is expected of me as a participant?
    Ask about doctor visits, questionnaires, length of time involved in participation, blood draws, testing, and hospitalization.
  4. What are the potential benefits?
    Understand what benefits participation may have for you, and why this may be better than the standard treatment.
  5. What are the risks and side effects?
    Understand the risks associated with the treatment and what kind of potential side effects you may experience.
  6. How does the new treatment compare with the standard treatment?
    Ask how being part of this clinical trial will differ from your standard treatment.
  7. What will it cost?
    Ask about the cost of the treatments and testing and what will be covered by the study and your insurance.
  8. What are my other options?
    Know all of your treatment options and how they differ from the treatment you receive on trial before choosing to take part in the study.

Resources

National Cancer Institute (NCI) – Cancer Information Service:
1-800-4-Cancer (1-800-422-6237)
View Site

American Cancer Society (ACS):
1-800-ACS-2345 (1.800-227-2345)
View Site

University of Hawaii Cancer Center
View Site