Research - clinical trials for AML
Research trials are carried out to try to find new and better treatments for leukaemia. Trials that are carried out on patients are known as clinical trials.
Clinical trials may be carried out to:
test new treatments, such as new chemotherapy drugs, gene therapy or cancer vaccines
look at new combinations of existing treatments, or change the way they are given, in
order to make them more effective or to reduce side effects
compare the effectiveness of drugs used for symptom control
find out how cancer treatments work
see which treatments are the most cost-effective.
Trials are the only reliable way to find out if a different type of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or other treatment is better than what is already available.
Taking part in a trial
You may be asked to take part in a treatment research trial. There can be many benefits in doing this. Trials help to improve knowledge about cancer and develop new treatments. You will also be carefully monitored during and after the study. Usually, several hospitals around the country take part in these trials.
Blood and tumour samples
Many blood samples and bone marrow or tumour biopsies may be taken to help make the right diagnosis. You may be asked for permission to use some of your samples for research into
leukaemia. If you are taking part in a trial you may also be asked to give other samples, which may be frozen and stored for future use when new research techniques become available. These
samples will have your name removed from them (anonymised) so you can't be identified.
The research may be carried out at the hospital where you are treated, or it may be at another hospital. This type of research takes a long time, so you are unlikely to hear the results. The
samples will, however, be used to increase knowledge about the causes of leukaemia and its treatment. This research will, hopefully, improve the outlook for future patients.