A new phase I clinical trial unit has opened at Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The unit, located on the third floor of the Cancer Center, provides a designated space to conduct phase I clinical trials, which test whether a drug or treatment is safe and effective for patients.
Thanks to the increase in the genetic knowledge of cancers, newer, more selective treatments are emerging as potential therapeutic alternatives for cancer patients. There are many drugs in development that aim to block pathways associated with these cancer alterations. These new agents are potentially more effective and less toxic than the traditional chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer.
Through preclinical trials, researchers gather data about dosage, frequency of dosage, safety and how well a drug may work against many types of cancer. Phase I clinical trials may mark the beginning of a therapy development process in patients.
“Patients who participate in phase I clinical trials are helping us advance new treatments,” said Caio Max S. Rocha Lima, M.D., professor of hematology and oncology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Health. “Most of the current approved cancer treatments went through a phase I clinical trial. Phase I trials could pave the way for better treatments in the near future.”
The complexity and strict timelines for treatment administration and monitoring of new agents in phase I trials requires a multidisciplinary team and dedicated space to support the patient-focused care provided by physicians, nurses, lab personnel and research staff needed for these trials.
Wake Forest Baptist enrolls patients with a variety of cancer types in clinical trials. There are currently 26 phase I clinical trials underway at the Cancer Center.