Clinical Trials: Tomorrow’s Treatments Today
When Cancer Patients Run Out of Treatment Options, Clinical Trials Can Provide Hope
Every year, more than 23,000 Albertans are diagnosed with cancer. It’s a complex disease and more treatment options with better outcomes are needed. Clinical trials are research studies that provide patients with access to leading-edge therapeutics while enabling researchers to fine-tune and expand current methods of preventing, detecting and treating cancer (such as surgery, radiotherapy and systemic therapies).
Although specific trial outcomes can’t be guaranteed, there is always gained medical knowledge, which contributes to improved cancer care here in Alberta and around the world. Today’s standard cancer treatments are available thanks to clinical trials. To date, notable outcomes of the trial process include less invasive surgical techniques, drugs with fewer side effects, and treatments that improve patient outcomes. These discoveries benefit today’s trial participants and provide valuable insight and hope for others facing cancer in the future.
Alberta is at the forefront of clinical trial activity in Canada. In 2021, over 1,000 Albertans participated in clinical trials, and 87 new trials received approval—each with the potential to help hundreds of thousands of patients with cancer. During the same time, $27.7 million worth of medications were provided to clinical trial patients, free of charge. The financial benefit of clinical trials extend beyond saving patients money—for every dollar invested in clinical trials in Alberta, our health care system saves $14. These savings ensure our clinical research units are well-equipped to deliver the best treatment and care to patients closer to home.
Research – clinical trials in particular – also nurtures an underlying spirit of curiosity, leading to medical advancements, and helps us to attract more of the best and brightest medical professionals to Alberta. Having the world’s best in cancer care and research in our province benefits all patients, not just those participating in trials.
Thanks to generous donor support, we will continue to increase our capacity for clinical trials by expanding research and treatment spaces, increasing our medical expertise, and fostering more ‘made-in-Alberta’ solutions to treating cancer.