What should patients know about clinical trials? CLL expert Dr. Michael Choi explains patient trial opportunities and provides key questions to ask about clinical trial participation.
Dr. Michael Choi is a hematologist and medical oncologist at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. Learn more about Dr. Choi.
Dr. Choi, what would you say to someone who is perhaps a little hesitant to participate in a trial to encourage them to learn more?
Yeah, certainly, it’s very natural to be anxious and to be hesitant about entering into a clinical trial about volunteering to receive something that maybe hasn’t been fully tested before. You know, I think when I talk to my patients about trials, one thing I try to keep in mind is that ultimately, to a degree, to a large degree, we have our trials for our patients. We want to have our trials open at our center so that patients that can benefit from them can have access to them.
And so, a lot of trials are really kind of designed in that way, to give patients a chance at something that we think will be better or a chance to get a drug when other drugs have stopped working. So, I think many clinical trials aren’t really with the thought that we want to prioritize the science and that our patients are just guinea pigs.
In fact, I think all of us that are treating patients with CLL and being a part of CLL clinical trials, I think we’re really doing our best to prioritize our patients and their health. The trials are really just a part of that. But beyond that, I think maybe the questions that can be asked would be kind of what’s known already about these drugs.
Many trials are using drugs that we’ve already used for many years and maybe just using them in a different manner. So, talk to your doctors about what’s already known. Certainly, the question about how will they be monitored, that’s an important question for your team too. And then, certainly, make sure you understand if there are any other options that would be appropriate or good for you and discuss the pros and cons of the trial versus those options.