Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin physicians have been leaders in early-phase clinical trials and translational research for decades. Translational research is the process of bringing scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the patient clinic – also frequently referred to as “bench to bedside.”
In translational research, early tests of new treatments, called early phase clinical trials, are conducted among small numbers of patients. The Froedtert & the Medical College Clinical Cancer Center at the Froedtert Hospital campus is one of about a dozen centers in the nation with a specialized treatment unit dedicated to early phase trials.
What are Early Phase Trials?
Clinical trials to test new treatments involve a series of steps called phases. Early phase clinical trials – phase I and phase II – help physicians understand how a new drug or other treatment works within a patient population. If a new treatment is successful in one phase, it proceeds to further testing in the next phase.
During the early phases (phases I and II), researchers determine:
- Whether a new treatment is safe
- What its side effects are
- The best dose of the new treatment
Who May Benefit From Early Phase Clinical Trials?
In general, early phase studies are for patients who are fighting diseases that are no longer responding to standard therapies or patients who have diseases that do not have a standard treatment. For these patients, early phase research may offer another option and the opportunity to make a positive impact on future generations of cancer patients.
What Types of Early Phase Trials Are Available?
Early phase trials may study:
- Targeted therapies
- Immune-based therapies
- Novel combinations of chemotherapeutic drugs
How to Access an Early Phase Clinical Trial
Always ask your care team if there is a clinical trial that is right for you. Your doctors can help you understand trials for which you might be eligible to volunteer, the risks and benefits and what your participation would involve. Learn more about clinical trials.