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How to Find a Cancer Treatment Trial: A 10-Step Guide

  • Updated: 06/08/2010

Step 5: Search Other Lists of Cancer Clinical Trials

In addition to NCI’s list of cancer clinical trials, you may want to check a few other trial lists. Why? Because:

  • Some may include a few trials not found in NCI’s list.
  • You may prefer the way you can search those lists.

Other places to look for lists of cancer clinical trials include the Web sites of:

Helpful Tip: Whichever Web site you use to search for clinical trials, be sure to get a copy of the clinical trial summary for every trial that interests you.

A clinical trial summary should tell you what will be done in the trial, how, and why. It should also list the location(s) where the trial is taking place, so you will know where you have to go to take part in the trial.

NCI’s list of cancer clinical trials provides a detailed summary for each trial listed. Other non-NCI resources may or may not provide such detailed information about listed trials.

Web Sites of Research Organizations that Conduct Cancer Clinical Trials

Many cancer centers across the United States, including NCI-designated Cancer Centers, sponsor or take part in cancer clinical trials. The Web sites of these centers usually have a list of the clinical trials taking place at their location. Some of the trials included in these lists, mainly phase I clinical trials (also called phase 1 trials), may not be in NCI’s list.

Keep in mind that the amount of information about clinical trials on these Web sites can vary considerably. You may have to contact a cancer center’s clinical trials office to get more information about the trials that interest you. See a list of NCI-designated Cancer Centers.

Another place to look is the TrialCheck® Web site. This Web site is managed by an organization called the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups (CCCG). The CCCG includes groups of doctors and other health professionals who conduct many of the large cancer clinical trials sponsored by NCI. The TrialCheck Web site has a clinical trials questionnaire that helps you search for trials based on your cancer type and the treatment(s) you have already received. Most of the clinical trials listed on the TrialCheck Web site are the same as those found in NCI’s clinical trials list.

Drug and Biotechnology Company Web Sites

Drug and biotechnology companies also sponsor cancer clinical trials. Many of these trials are included in NCI’s list of cancer clinical trials, but some are not.

How to search for company-sponsored trials:

  • Search the U.S. Web sites of drug and biotechnology companies. Many companies provide lists of the clinical trials that they sponsor on their Web sites. Sometimes, a company’s Web site may refer you to the Web site of another organization that helps the company find patients for its trials. The other organization may be paid fees for this service.

    The Web site of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) includes a list of its member companies, many of which sponsor cancer clinical trials. PhRMA is a trade organization that represents drug and biotechnology companies in the United States.

  • Search the Clinical Trials Portal of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA). The IFPMA Web portal includes trials found in NCI’s list of cancer clinical trials, as well as some other trials. You can search for clinical trials based on cancer type or other medical condition, drug name, and geographic location (for example, the United States).

Clinical Trial Listing Services

Other organizations provide lists of clinical trials as a major part of their business. These organizations generally do not sponsor or take part in clinical trials. Some of them may receive fees from drug or biotechnology company sponsors of trials for listing their trials or helping them find patients for their trials.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • The trial lists provided by these organizations often rely heavily on trial lists that are available at no cost from the U.S. Federal government (NCI and

  • The trial lists provided by these organizations may have a few more trials than NCI’s list, or they may have fewer trials.

  • Unlike the NCI Web site (and, the Web sites of these organizations may not be updated regularly.

  • Unlike the NCI Web site (and, the Web sites of these organizations may require you to register to search for clinical trials or obtain trial contact information for trials that interest you.

Links to the Web sites of several clinical trial listing services are given below. Clicking on the links will help you learn more about the Web sites, what the organizations that manage the sites have to offer, and their clinical trial lists.

Cancer Advocacy Group Web sites

Cancer advocacy groups work on behalf of people diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones. They provide education, support, financial assistance, and advocacy to help patients and families who are dealing with cancer, its treatment, and survivorship. These organizations recognize that clinical trials are important to improving cancer care. They work to educate and empower people to find information and obtain access to appropriate treatment.

Advocacy groups work hard to know about the latest advances in cancer research. They will sometimes have information about certain government-sponsored clinical trials, as well as some trials sponsored by cancer centers or drug and biotechnology companies.

How to search for trials through a cancer advocacy group:

  • Search the Web sites of advocacy groups for specific types of cancer. Many of these Web sites have lists of clinical trials or refer you to the Web sites of organizations that match patients to trials. The Web site, managed by the non-profit Marti Nelson Cancer Foundation, provides a partial list of cancer advocacy groups. Or, you can contact an advocacy group directly for assistance in finding clinical trials.