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Treatments for cancer and other diseases require many years of study and rigorous review before they can be offered to patients. After ideas are sparked, strategies are shaped by laboratory research. When laboratory research data gain traction, results of continued testing may lead to clinical trials – carefully controlled research studies that test the safety and effectiveness of new treatments in people.
All clinical trials must meet strict standards and be approved by responsible oversight agencies, including Institutional Review Boards, Data and Safety Monitoring Boards and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Sometimes clinical trials lead directly to successful new standards of care and sometimes they lead to additional testing. Regardless, all clinical trial participants contribute to the greater good by helping to generate knowledge that further advances progress toward cures.