Clinical Trial Results

When a clinical trial is finished accepting patients, a period of time is needed to study the results of the trial. Sometimes, the trial continues to follow patients long after the treatment is completed. Children who have participated in clinical trials at the IWK are followed for the rest of their lives. No trial can report its final results until enough patients have been followed to see what happens. For some trials this may be a short time. Other studies may need to follow patients for a long time. Sometimes it takes many years before the final results are known.

When a clinical trial is finished, the results are usually written in medical literature. It is important to tell other health professionals about the trial. They can review the findings and use the information to help them to treat patients. Often the results show no difference between the study treatment and the usual treatment. This is also important to know.

For many trials, results may be shared with physicians and other health professionals in meetings and conferences. This means that they immediately hear about important results. Sometimes, a trial may seem to have good results at first. But, sometimes the results will turn out not to be so good after a long period of time. Health care professionals, patients and their families must be careful if they are making decisions based on early results.

Most clinical trials offered in Nova Scotia also are available in many other cancer centres in Canada and other countries. The main investigator of the trial may be based anywhere in Canada or the world. Information from all patients is put together to obtain the results. The results for individual patients are not usually studied. If you ask your doctors for the results of a trial you are taking part in, they may not be able to answer until the results are available from all patients.

The results of some clinical trials are available on the Internet. Web sites that have the results of some clinical trials include:

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