The team of physicians at Northeast Oncology Associates (NOA) offers cancer patients in Northeastern Pennsylvania the opportunity to participate in cancer clinical research trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Cancer patients can benefit from these cutting edge therapies conveniently close to home.
Physicians who offer NCI studies have access to the newest, most advanced treatment protocols available in the country for cancer treatment. Facilities that offer such state-of-the-science research must meet very high standards not demanded in nonparticipating institutions. Patients who wish to benefit from these cancer clinical trials may do so only in an institution accredited by the National Cancer Institute.
NOA physicians have participated as Principal Investigators in cancer research trials in Northeastern Pennsylvania for over 20 years through the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), sponsored by NCI. The research team has been recognized nationally for the outstanding quality of its research. More than 700 people have participated and benefited from these research studies.
Clinical trials are medical research studies involving people. Cancer clinical trials are designed to find new and better ways to help prevent, detect or treat cancer. Improvements in cancer treatment are the most common subject of clinical research trials. In these studies, scientists seek to determine if new treatments are safe and effective, and if they are more effective than standard treatments. These cancer studies test many types of treatments, such as new drugs or vaccines, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, or new combinations of existing treatments. Cancer treatments currently being given, known as standard treatments, are often the result of earlier clinical trials. In turn, today's standard treatments may be the basis for new clinical trials to find better ways to treat the disease.
Clinical trials are available for most types and stages of cancer. Patients are offered participation in a clinical trial only if their cancer physician finds they meet the eligibility criteria. For eligible patients, the decision to participate in a trial ultimately rests with the patient. People participate only after they have received comprehensive information about the trial and have decided voluntarily to be part of the study.
There are two groups that design and monitor cancer clinical trials:
Physicians at NOA participate primarily in NCI Trials and also offer pharmaceutical trials. These trials all include radiation therapy as a component of the investigation. In addition to treatment trials, studies also look at cancer prevention and early detection, as well as ways to improve the quality of life for people who have cancer.
Clinical Trials are usually classified into one of three phases: