Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, suffer from the muscle-weakening disease myositis, or are concerned about a recurrence of colon cancer, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical research study offered to Kaiser Permanente patients through the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute (MAPRI). As part of Kaiser Permanente’s integrated and data-driven health system, MAPRI’s scientists research and refine treatments and techniques to better help today’s patients recover and manage their health in the future.
“Over the last 10 years, the number of clinical trials that we can offer our patients has grown tremendously, and we expect to see more growth in the months and years ahead,” says Leon Hwang, MD, DCSM Oncology Service Chief. And many of the randomized clinical trials offered by MAPMG are conducted in partnership with the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.
For patients, there are a number of important benefits associated with participating in clinical trials, which test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat diseases. These studies often provide access to promising new procedures or therapies that generally aren’t available to patients outside of the study. If the therapy proves successful, patients in the study may be the first to benefit from it. And there’s also an important altruistic factor at play: The results of clinical trials are crucial for advancing science and improving medical care in the future.
Of course, not every new treatment pans out. Occasionally, there are unwanted side effects. And in “randomized” trials, some participants will receive standard therapy only, and some patients will receive the test treatment plus the standard therapy.
If you or someone you love is interested in participating in a clinical trial, you can find a full listing of active trials here. Dr. Hwang particularly encourages members of minority ethnic and racial groups to participate. “Minorities are generally underrepresented in clinical trials,” he says. “And it’s crucial to have minorities participate in order to come up with findings that are specifically valid for them.”
Because the criteria for eligibility can be very specific, Dr. Hwang suggests speaking directly with your doctor if you are interested in participating in a clinical trial. For more information, click here.