Clinical trials are the basis of modern medicine. Through a series of phases, clinical trials strive to find more effective treatments with fewer side effects. For men with limited options, clinical trials can be a great way to access the newest treatments; however, choosing the right clinical trial can be difficult. This episode discusses pros and cons of participation, how patients can benefit, and addresses some common concerns and misconceptions.
Dr. Scholz: [00:03] We’re guiding you to treatment success and avoiding prostate cancer pitfalls. I’m your host, Dr. Mark Scholz.
Liz: [00:09] And I'm your cohost, Liz Graves.
Dr. Scholz: [00:13] Welcome to the PROSTATE PROS podcast.
Liz: [00:17] Clinical trials are the root basis for modern medicine and they're vital for the development of new treatments. This episode, we're going to talk about pros and cons of clinical trials, who can benefit, which clinical trials to be most excited about. We'll also address some concerns patients might have about participating.
Dr. Scholz: [00:37] Yeah, I mean, clinical trials are how doctors decide what to do for patients. But today we're going to talk more about how patients can extract a benefit from participating in a clinical trial. Some medicines are only available on clinical trials, they’re not FDA approved yet and trying to make a determination if you, specifically, would benefit by being in a clinical trial, getting an investigational drug is what this podcast today is about.
Liz: [01:05] So which type of patients in prostate cancer are looking for clinical trials?
Dr. Scholz: [01:11] It's really important as has been emphasized many times in the past, that there are different types of prostate cancer. We call them stages or five different stages of prostate cancer and clinical trials are usually being performed in people with advanced metastatic prostate cancer, more often the type of cancer that is not responding to traditional medicines.
Liz: [01:34] So these are patients who have limited options left and clinical trials can allow them access to the newest treatments.
Dr. Scholz: [01:42] Exactly. The problem with doing clinical trials is that there are always disadvantages. If there are other FDA approved medications that have been already shown to prolong life why wouldn't patients use those first, especially since they are typically covered by most types of insurance?
Liz: [02:05] I think one concern people have is that clinical trials are either not covered by insurance or they're expensive. Is this true?
Dr. Scholz: [02:12] Actually no, most of the time, clinical trials will provide the medications free of charge. I think the disadvantages of clinical trials are that they’re somewhat cumbersome, there's a lot of paperwork, and it's very formalized. So people are treated in a very uniform fashion, there's less room for creativity and adjustment of doses and things like that. There's a major inconvenience to clinical trials. Then of course the way that the medicine is used or whether or not there is a potential for getting placebos, these things can also be a disadvantage for patients who are participating in clinical trials.
Liz: [02:50] I think one other thing I was looking at clinicaltrials.gov to find the list of what's happening in prostate cancer. A lot of the eligibility criteria is really strict, so I think that can be kind of a limiting factor as well.
Dr. Scholz: [03:05] Yeah, that's a very g