The Community Medical Centers Healthcare Network - Central California

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials at California Cancer Center
Every day around the world, groundbreaking clinical trials are offering new hope in the fight against cancer. At the Community Medical Centers, we’re committed to doing whatever it takes to find a cure, that’s why we routinely bring national and international clinical cancer trials to Valley patients. See current clinical trials.

Clinical trials are a very important way our patients can access the most advanced thinking in cancer treatment. We offer many opportunities for participation which in turn offers new hope to our patients.
-Bonnie Harkins, R.N., O.C.N., research nurse, California Cancer Center

What’s a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are research studies focused on finding new ways to improve health and cancer care. Each study tries to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer. A clinical trial is one of the final stages of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done with cancer patients to find out whether promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment are safe and effective.
The California Cancer Center is affiliated with the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program and as a teaching cancer program, we’re expected to enroll a minimum of 6 percent of new cancer patients into trials. New cancer patients are screened for eligibility and may choose to participate in one of the trials we offer. Patients cannot be enrolled in a clinical trial without their knowledge and consent.
Most clinical trials are classified into one of three phases which allows researchers to ask and answer questions in a way that results in reliable information about the drug and protects the patients.
Phase I trials: A phase 1 trial evaluates how a new drug should be given (for example by mouth or IV,) how often and what dose is safe. A phase I trial usually enrolls only a small number of patients, sometimes as few as a dozen.
Phase II trials: A phase II trial continues to test the safety of the drug and begins to evaluate how well the new drug works. Phase II studies usually focus on a particular type of cancer.
Phase III trials: These studies test a new drug, a new combination of drugs, or a new surgical procedure in comparison to the current standard. A participant will usually be assigned to the standard group or the new group at random (called randomization). Phase III trials often enroll large numbers of people and may be conducted at many doctors' offices, clinics and cancer centers nationwide.
What are my rights as a patient?
If you decide to enroll in a clinical trial, you’ll be made fully aware of what takes place. This is called informed consent. Before you sign a consent form, an investigator will explain the purpose of the trial, expected benefits, anticipated side effects or risks and what will be expected of you. This gives you an opportunity to ask any questions and to address concerns or anxieties about entering a clinical trial. If you decide to participate, you’ll sign a consent form and be enrolled. Even if you sign a consent form, you can leave a clinical trial at any time without penalty.