Patients cared for at the Midwest Children's Brain Tumor Center will have access to treatment/research protocols or studies sponsored by the Children's Oncology Group, the Advocate Children's Hospital - Park Ridge, the Lutheran General Cancer Care Center, the Advocate Healthcare Network, and the Midwest Children's Brain Tumor Center.
For more information about specific research protocols or treatment for specific tumor types please contact the Center's coordinator, Denise Fleig, APRN, BC.
New Clinical Trial - The Center and Brain Tumor Dye Study
A Phase 1 and 2 Study of Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) to Enhance Visualization and Resection of Malignant Glial Tumors of the Brain began accepting patients on April 2008. The purpose of this study is to determine the safety and utility of ALA for identifying a malignant brain tumor during surgery. It is important for a surgeon to remove all of a brain tumor. This is sometimes difficult because the tumor can look like normal brain. In some tumors ALA can make the tumors glow red under ultraviolet light. This can make it easier for the surgeon to remove all of the tumor.
Dispelling the Myths
Misconceptions about research and clinical studies are a common phenomena. This confusion is often magnified by media reports of scientific breakthroughs and the massive amount of information available via the internet. It is important to understand how a clinical trial/research is conducted as well as where to find the information.
A clinical trial is an organized study that investigates a new treatment/therapy or a new way of using a known treatment/therapy in patients. Each phase of a trial is designed to answer very specific questions regarding a treatment ie; what is the toxicity of the treatment or what is the effectiveness of the treatment? A set number of patients are allowed into each phase of the study. All treatments are first investigated in the laboratory and in animals before being tested in human beings.
- Phase I study: investigates the best method for giving a treatment and how much can be given safely. This is the first step after a treatment has been tried in the laboratory and in animals. Because of the significant risks associated with a phase I study( the side effects of a treatment in human beings is unknown) only patients who have cancer that is not responsive to other known therapies can participate in the trial.
- Phase II study: intends to find out if a treatment will actually destroy cancer cells. A larger number of patients is allowed into the study. Along with response to a treatment a phase II study will also assess for side effects.
- Phase III study: seeks to find out how a new treatment compares to a standard treatment(known treatment). Much larger numbers of patients are entered into the study. Quality of life, longer prognosis, and fewer side effects are all investigated in a phase III study.
There are many other types of studies as well that look at different aspects of treatment ie; using adjuvant therapies or conducting studies that investigate methods of minimizing the side effects of cancer treatment.
It is important to know that at the end of each phase of a trial the study will close (no more patients will be accepted into the study) and scientists will analyze the data. This is the only way to gain knowledge that is meaningful. Compassionate trial basis refers to a patient who has not responded to standard treatments and is permitted to be treated with a research protocol as a last measure. The patient is not enrolled in the study.
Please see our links page for websites providing information about clinical trials. The National Cancer Institute website has a section designated for alternative/complimentary therapies. Any information you obtain regarding treatments should always be reviewed with your physician.
The Children's Oncology Group
The Children's Oncology Group is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. It is the largest multicenter research organization in the United States. All patients treated at Lutheran General Children's Hospital are offered participation in the most up-to-date national protocols and research trials available.
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