Clinical trials are studies, managed by government agencies, educational institutions, private not-for-profit organizations, or commercial businesses, to develop, produce, and evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments, tests, and preventive therapies for diseases.
Individuals who participate in research studies are often given the opportunity to benefit from treatments that are not currently available to the general public, but have shown promise in previous research.
Risks from participating in a clinical trial vary depending on the study. It is important to understand that not all new treatments produce the desired effect, and some may even be less effective (or less safe) than current treatments.
At any given time, there are hundreds of prostate cancer clinical trials underway. Most of these are fairly small clinical trials studying new treatments (both procedures and medicines) for prostate cancer. If these early trials find a treatment that might be effective, it is studied in larger clinical trials that typically include hundreds of men. Other studies are looking for new ways to help prevent prostate cancer, better ways to find it early, and ways to tell whether prostate cancer is likely to grow quickly or not.
Additional information about clinical trials and ongoing research can be obtained from the National Cancer Institute website. Men interested in learning more about prostate clinical trials can also talk with their doctors for more information.