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Leukemia clinical trials allow people to access innovative treatments before those options are made available in other settings. Researchers can learn more about how a treatment works, who is most likely to benefit and how to manage any side effects, while participants can potentially benefit from the latest advances in leukemia research. That said, not everyone wants to participate in a clinical trial, and that’s perfectly valid. A decision to enroll in a trial is best made after a careful evaluation of all available alternatives.

The benefits of participating in a clinical trial

People who participate in clinical trials can be among the first to utilize the newest leukemia treatment options. In some instances, these treatments are ultimately found to be more effective than other treatments that are currently available. In fact, the leukemia treatments that are now considered most effective were once only offered through clinical trials.

Other potential benefits of clinical trials include:

  • An ability to try new options, which can be particularly advantageous if other therapies have proven unsuccessful 
  • An ability to work closely with a collaborative research and treatment team
  • An ability to contribute to leukemia research, leading to better outcomes for all current and future patients

Participants can exit a clinical trial at any time, even if the course of treatment is not complete. Throughout the course of a trial, participants are closely monitored to determine how well the treatment is working and whether any adjustments are necessary.

Potential drawbacks to consider

Some people may be concerned about entering a leukemia trial because they are hesitant to devote their time to a treatment that might not be as effective as they’d hoped. However, most clinical trials are designed to provide participants with either the best available treatment or one that has the potential to produce a better outcome. That said, there’s no way to know whether the new leukemia treatment will be more effective than the standard one until the trial is complete.

Additionally, clinical trial administrators are required to provide patients with an informed consent form that clearly explains the potential risks of the treatment that is being studied prior to getting started. This includes any side effects that the treatment might cause, either in the short term or the long term.

As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt Cancer Center is actively involved in developing and conducting clinical trials. Patients with leukemia can consult with Moffitt’s experienced oncologists to determine whether they are a candidate for any open study, and no referrals are required. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.