Clinical Trials: A Path to Better Cancer Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on January 18, 2018
2 min read

Sonequa Martin-Green can currently be seen starring as Michael Burnham in CBS All Access’ hit series, Star Trek: Discovery. Prior to Star Trek, Sonequa starred on AMC’s critically acclaimed, smash-hit zombie apocalypse drama The Walking Dead for 5 seasons.


WebMD: What are cancer clinical trials?

Sonequa Martin-Green: Clinical trials, they help us find new and better ways to treat, prevent, and detect cancer. Every participant adds to that knowledge. We learn which patients are likely to respond to which treatments. We learn more about how cancer works. And we might even discover approaches that work for other cancers. And currently very few adult cancer patients join trials. Many cancer clinical trials don't get completed because not enough people participate. And without enough information, a promising treatment might never get approved.


WebMD: What are the benefits?

Martin-Green: Clinical trials are a path to better cancer diagnosis and treatments, and they're the way that researchers can develop them to benefit patients. Patients take part to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. Cancer clinical trials offer hope for many people and allow researchers to study innovative and potentially lifesaving new treatments for others in the future.

The goal, of course, is to find treatments that are better than what's currently available. And participating in a clinical trial may provide a patient with access to a new, innovative treatment that isn't otherwise available and might offer new benefits.


WebMD: Why does diversity matter?

Martin-Green: Diversity is extremely important for clinical trials. We know that people are different, and that sometimes those differences track across ethnicities and backgrounds and walks of life. And there are other biological differences that can impact how well a treatment will work or how likely a person will experience a serious side effect. And we need to study treatments in diverse groups of people to understand these differences so that we know what to expect if the treatment is used for patients across the country.


WebMD: Why should I consider a clinical trial?

Martin-Green: We all know someone affected by cancer. One in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed in their lifetimes. So we all know someone who might benefit from understanding clinical trials just a little bit better and to consider a clinical trial for their care. A decision to participate in a clinical trial today, it may not only help you or your loved one, but also patients in the future.