Clinical trials are the most important step on the journey from laboratory findings to standard medical practice, and treatments used today are the result of past trials

Cancer clinical trials are research investigations in which people volunteer to test new treatments. Scientists and doctors are constantly looking to develop innovative, more effective and less toxic treatments to improve patient survival and quality of life.

Clinical trials help to confirm the safety and effectiveness of new treatments as well as decide whether side effects are acceptable when weighed against benefits.

In cancer research, some clinical trials evaluate new drugs, while others optimise different therapeutic approaches including surgery, radiation therapy and combinations of drugs already on the market. However, as with any new drug or treatment, there may be risks as well as benefits.

That is why clinical trials are closely monitored and usually conducted in hospitals or through the outpatient department.

The purpose of academic clinical research is solely to advance medicine. This type of research plays an important role in the checks and balances of commercially oriented clinical research.

A typical area of academic clinical research is the advancement and optimization of already existing therapies. Academic clinical trials may, for instance, test how a combination of treatments (drugs, radiotherapy and surgery) could improve treatment outcomes; or they may apply registered treatments in additional or less frequent indications.