Morning Meeting: Should I travel for a clinical trial?

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In this morning meeting, Dr. Sager discusses the expectations of clinical trials and how they can limit travel.

And how to weigh the benefits.

If you or someone you love is considering traveling for a clinical trial, watch this and let us know if we can help.


She asked a question that I thought was a good one, and something that we don't talk about a lot, which is on the clinical trial side. You know, clinical trials usually have an expectation of a patient's presence, right? And most trials, especially the earlier phase ones, are fairly intensive at the beginning, and then they get less intensive as they go on.

Now, most patients don't necessarily stay on for a whole long time. Or at least, traditionally that has been the situation. So for the first month, you know, the patient may need to go every week. They may need to stick around the center within driving distance of the center, just to make sure if they have a side effect that's unexpected, that they can get back into the center. After the first month, and generally, a month equals a cycle, sometimes it's three weeks, five weeks, but in general, after you know you get through a month or so, the second month will be slightly less intensive. It might be every other week. By the third month and beyond, it's usually less, so it might be once a month.

At some point, depending upon if the medicine is oral or not, you might be just picking up the medicine, but you may have a check-in every few months, so it does really kind of ramp down. I don't know if that will help. You have some patients decide that they want to be part of the study compared with traveling. Obviously, you know, we see a big difference between the sort of the standard chemotherapy, which is what this patient would be offered if they didn't do a clinical trial, and then the clinical trial medicines. You know, mainly longevity and stability of cancer for a long period of time in months or years, that's what we're aiming for.

We know with chemotherapy, it's very limited. Chemotherapy may allow more travel, but chemotherapy also has a lot more side effects, especially after you get past the standard of care, and they start adding one after another after another. And so, I don't know that really travel is wonderful during those times either. And of the two, I'd rather have the one that gives me the longevity and the stability and maybe be tied down, at least at first, to the trial center than to be on something that makes me not feel well. I'm able to travel, but really it's only gonna last for a few months, and then there's really nothing else left.

So yeah, those were that sort of the unfortunate choice in front of a lot of patients, but I just thought it be useful to go through.