Are you considering a CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia) clinical trial? If so, you probably have lots of questions. No one – not even your doctor – can tell you whether it's the right decision for you. However, what follows may help you decide if a clinical trial is a wise option to explore with your treatment team.
What is a CML Clinical Trial?
A CML clinical trial is a carefully controlled research study. It may be done to see if a CML treatment is safe and effective. It may also show if the new treatment is better than standard treatment.
CML clinical trials may test a drug or treatment protocol in order to:
- Help patients who have not gotten results from standard CML treatment
- Help patients prevent CML from returning
- Help patients reduce CML treatment side effects
It's also important to know that placebos are rarely used in cancer clinical trials. Instead, the new treatment is compared with standard treatment unless no standard treatment exists.
What Are the Benefits of a CML Clinical Trial?
A clinical trial may offer you new treatment options for your chronic myelogenous leukemia and help prolong your life. And it may improve your quality of life. Clinical trials follow strict scientific guidelines to ensure they are safe and that their risks don't outweigh potential benefits.
As a voluntary participant in a CML clinical trial, you may be among the first to receive a new treatment, or you may receive standard treatment.
You are not the only person who may benefit from a clinical trial. Thousands of other participants who follow in your footsteps may benefit. That's because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may approve a treatment which has been proven to be safe and effective in cancer clinical trials. Current CML treatments such as Gleevec (imatinib) were first introduced in clinical trials. This is a chronic myelogenous leukemia treatment that has made a big difference for many people.
Even if your clinical trial does not lead to an FDA-approved treatment, it may help move science forward and improve cancer treatment in the future. Many advances in cancer and leukemia treatment, in particular, have resulted from clinical trials.
What Are the Challenges Associated With CML Clinical Trials?
Perhaps the biggest challenge of a CML clinical trial is the decision you make about whether or not to participate. A trial comes with no guarantees. Even if others benefit, it may not work for you. Other potential downsides include the following:
- You may have side effects or complications that were not known before testing took place.
- The trial may require more frequent testing. Or you may need to travel to participate.
- Depending on the type of trial, you and your doctor may not be allowed to know the type of treatment you're taking. However, you will be informed about this ahead of time.
- Insurance may not cover all the costs of a CML clinical trial. To learn more, talk with study coordinators and your insurer.