Learn About Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. Any time you or a loved one need treatment for cancer, clinical trials are an option to think about. Learning all you can about clinical trials can help you talk with your doctor and decide what is right for you.

We want to provide you with up-to-date, credible information about clinical trials. Information on this page is from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

What are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. Through clinical trials, doctors find new ways to improve treatments and the quality of life for people with disease.

Researchers design cancer clinical trials to test new ways to:

    • Treat cancer
    • Find and diagnose cancer
    • Prevent cancer
    • Manage symptoms of cancer and side effects from its treatment

Clinical trials are the final step in a long process that begins with research in a lab. Before any new treatment is used with people in clinical trials, researchers work for many years to understand its effects on cancer cells in the lab and in animals. They also try to figure out the side effects it may cause.

Every trial has a doctor in charge, who is called the principal investigator. The principal investigator prepares a plan for the trial, called a protocol. The protocol explains what will be done during the trial. It also contains information that helps the doctor decide if this treatment is right for you. Such as:

  • The reason for doing the trial
  • Who can join the trial (called “eligibility criteria”)
  • How many people are needed for the trial
  • Any drugs or other treatments that will be given, how they will be given, the dose, and how often
  • What medical tests will be done and how often
  • What types of information will be collected about the people taking part

Any time you or a loved one needs treatment for cancer, clinical trials are an option to think about. Trials are available for all stages of cancer. It is a myth that they are only for people who have advanced cancer that is not responding to treatment.

To look for NCI-supported trials, click here.

Why are Clinical Trials Important?

Today, people are living longer lives from successful cancer treatments that are the results of past clinical trials. Through clinical trials, doctors determine whether new treatments are safe and effective and work better than current treatments. Clinical trials also help us find new ways to prevent and detect cancer, and they help us improve the quality of life for people during and after treatment. When you take part in a clinical trial, you add to our knowledge about cancer and help improve cancer care for future patients. Clinical trials are the key to making progress against cancer.

We asked patients and doctors to discuss their clinical trial experience for people who are wondering if a clinical trial might be right for them.

Why should I join a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease.

Treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments.

The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Clinical trials can also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.

People participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Healthy volunteers say they participate to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. Participants with an illness or disease also participate to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have the additional care and attention from the clinical trial staff.

Clinical trials offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future.

NCI has trained trial counselors who can help you find potential trials to discuss with your oncologist.  There is no charge to you.

Talking with your oncologist about trials

Dr Martin Voss, medical oncologist from MSKCC gives a detailed discussion of enrolling in a clinical trial for kidney cancer patients.

How do I find a Kidney Cancer Trial?

Watch this quick overview of how to search for an NCI-supported clinical trial or call 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) to speak with an NCI cancer information specialist in English or Spanish.

After a discussion with your oncologist about trials, you may want to explore options yourself.

NCI offers help for patients new to clinical trials useful steps to find a trial.

How can I find kidney cancer trials close to me?

Click the link to search on clinicaltrials.gov which has the broadest information. Fill in a few basics like “kidney cancer” and your location. You can add a keyword like “immunotherapy” or “Papillary” to filter your results and shorten the list.

Kidney Cancer Research Consortium

The Kidney Cancer Research Consortium is comprised of seven partner institutions at top academic research institutions across the country.

Visit their website for more information about clinical trials.

Paying for Clinical Trials

Many patients ask about the costs of trial participation. A mix of insurance plus trial sponsor support can minimize your out-of-pocket costs.

Learn more by watching this short video from Cancer.gov below.

Download this useful document from the National Cancer Institute to read about taking part in a clinical research trial.

Reliable  Resources for Cancer Information
NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE
www.cancer.gov
CANCER.NET
www.cancer.net/cancer-types/kidney-cancer
INTERNATIONAL KIDNEY CANCER COALITION
www.ikcc.org
CANCER AND CAREERS
www.cancerandcareers.org/en/at-work

Join Our Grassroots Army

We know that awareness of kidney cancer and its impact on many lives leads to a sense of urgency, a desire for solutions. Awareness leads to advocacy, and advocacy — joining to speak as one voice — leads to funding and research. That’s how we get to cures.

"Many cancers, including kidney cancers, have built-in defenses that allow them to repel the human immune system’s attacks. Immune checkpoint inhibitors help thwart these defenses. 'If you think of a tumor’s defense against an immune attack as barbed wire, this class of immunotherapy drugs aims to cover the barbed wire and allow the immune system to do its job,' [Dr. David McDermott] explains."
Time Magazine recently highlighted the latest breakthroughs in #kidneycancer treatment. Check it out!
Great to see our friends David McDermott (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), Nizar Tannir (MD Anderson), and Martin Voss (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) featured!
link in stories: https://time.com/6227200/kidney-cancer-treatment-advances/

"Many cancers, including kidney cancers, have built-in defenses that allow them to repel the human immune system’s attacks. Immune checkpoint inhibitors help thwart these defenses. 'If you think of a tumor’s defense against an immune attack as barbed wire, this class of immunotherapy drugs aims to cover the barbed wire and allow the immune system to do its job,' [Dr. David McDermott] explains."

Time Magazine recently highlighted the latest breakthroughs in #kidneycancer treatment. Check it out!

Great to see our friends David McDermott (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), Nizar Tannir (MD Anderson), and Martin Voss (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) featured!

link in stories: https://time.com/6227200/kidney-cancer-treatment-advances/
...

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Community Spotlight! Today KidneyCAN is highlighting a genuinely unsung hero in the #kidneycancer community. Meet Deb Beyhan, the heart and soul of our advocacy efforts and a patient with stage IV #RCC. 
Read her story and tips for new patients: https://kidneycan.org/debra-beyhan-kidney-cancer-patient-advocate/

Community Spotlight! Today KidneyCAN is highlighting a genuinely unsung hero in the #kidneycancer community. Meet Deb Beyhan, the heart and soul of our advocacy efforts and a patient with stage IV #RCC.

Read her story and tips for new patients: https://kidneycan.org/debra-beyhan-kidney-cancer-patient-advocate/
...

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Our partners at the Judy Nicholson Foundation are hosting a regional symposium for the kidney cancer community in the Atlanta area. This is a FREE, in-person event with 16 speakers and many exhibitors.
Patients, family, caregivers, and healthcare workers are encouraged to attend!
https://jnfkidneycancer.org/regional-symposium-atlanta/

Our partners at the Judy Nicholson Foundation are hosting a regional symposium for the kidney cancer community in the Atlanta area. This is a FREE, in-person event with 16 speakers and many exhibitors.

Patients, family, caregivers, and healthcare workers are encouraged to attend!

https://jnfkidneycancer.org/regional-symposium-atlanta/
...

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If you're a patient, caregiver, or family member of someone with #kidneycancer, we want your input! 
This survey is an opportunity for kidney cancer patients, caregivers and survivors from around the world to share their individual lived experiences and study how patients' experiences change over time. Specifically, the survey evaluates access to care, quality of life, and the use of shared decision-making and identifies geographical differences, best practices, and unmet needs.
We use this information to advocate for YOU and improve experiences for those living with #kidneycancer. 
Complete the survey here: https://bit.ly/IKCCGlobalSurvey22 
Thank you!

If you're a patient, caregiver, or family member of someone with #kidneycancer, we want your input!

This survey is an opportunity for kidney cancer patients, caregivers and survivors from around the world to share their individual lived experiences and study how patients' experiences change over time. Specifically, the survey evaluates access to care, quality of life, and the use of shared decision-making and identifies geographical differences, best practices, and unmet needs.

We use this information to advocate for YOU and improve experiences for those living with #kidneycancer.

Complete the survey here: https://bit.ly/IKCCGlobalSurvey22

Thank you!
...

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The KidneyCAN team has gathered some of the best #kidneycancer researchers in the world for #KCRS22 and it’s giving #AvengersAssemble vibes this morning in sunny Philadelphia! 
Join us virtually!
KCRS.kidneycan.org
We can’t wait to see you!

The KidneyCAN team has gathered some of the best #kidneycancer researchers in the world for #KCRS22 and it’s giving #AvengersAssemble vibes this morning in sunny Philadelphia!

Join us virtually!
KCRS.kidneycan.org

We can’t wait to see you!
...

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