What Are Clinical Trial Phases?

Watch to learn about the three main phases of clinical trials. Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. Understanding what they are can help you decide if a clinical trial might be an option for you or a loved one.
For more on clinical trials, visit: https://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials
To find NCI-supported clinical trials, go to: https://trials.cancer.gov
Need help finding a trial? Have a cancer-related question? Call, e-mail, or write the NCI Contact Center at: https://www.cancer.gov/contact
Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. Most clinical trials to test new cancer treatments are done in a series of steps, called phases. If a new treatment is successful in one phase it moves to the next phase. Let’s take a look at the three main phases of clinical trials. Phase 1 trials are small enrolling less than thirty patients. Phase 1 trials are designed to find a safe dose of the new treatment, determine how the treatment should be given, and learn how it affects the body. If a safe doses found the new treatment goes to phase 2 testing. More patients are enrolled, usually 100 or less. Phase 2 trials study have the treatment effects the body, and how the treatment works for a certain type of cancer. If a new treatment is found to be safe and have some benefit, it goes to phase 3. This is when many participants are needed, usually more than 100 and sometimes thousands. Phase 3 trials compared the new treatment with the current treatment to see which one is better. One thing is certain with any phase trial, by taking part you will help future patients by helping today’s scientists learn more about cancer. For more information about clinical trials, including their possible risks and benefits for you go, to cancer.gov/clinicaltrials

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