What Is A Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials are just that: research programs conducted with patients to determine if an investigational treatment, drug, or device is a better line of defense than the current “best standard of care.” Clinical trials are taking place all over the world that are evaluating the success of promising new treatments for lung cancer that are awaiting formal approval by the government. These research trials typically involve medications or strategies that have already been shown in earlier research to have promise. There are many different kinds of clinical research trials.

Clinical trials can include studies that:

  • Evaluate which dose of a new medication is best
  • Investigate whether an approved drug can or should be used in combination with other treatments
  • Evaluate treatment for use in patients who haven’t had any treatment yet
  • Evaluate treatment for use in patients who have failed prior treatment(s)
  • Plus more

How can I be chosen for a Clinical Trial?

Patients are carefully selected through a detailed application process to make sure they are the best candidates to be a part of any clinical trial. If you are deemed a candidate for a clinical trial, you will be given medication, however, you will not know if you are receiving the “best standard of care” or the new medication. This determination is made depending upon what phase the new medication is in.

How much do clinical trials cost or are they covered by insurance?

The trial sponsor will cover the cost of care over and above the standard of care. Once selected to participate, patients receive the treatment and their health and are monitored very closely for side effects by research doctors. The patient’s response to treatment is also closely monitored with regular testing.

You may receive a new treatment that might become a best option for you. There may be additional expenses that might not be covered by the trial sponsor, so please carefully read the Informed Consent Agreement. Discuss any concerns with a trial coordinator prior to making your decision. Any patient considering involvement in a clinical trial should also discuss it with their oncologist who can help them determine which studies might be best for them.

Clinical Trials FAQ

Where can I go for Comprehensive Biomarker Testing?

NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and other academic centers are excellent choices for and have experience in comprehensive biomarker testing. You can also have the testing done by a commercial lab recommended by your physician.

How can I learn about clinical trials for lung cancer?

Most people find out about clinical trials from their doctors. Many times the doctor brings up the subject of a clinical trial with the patient, but, you don’t have to wait for your doctor to begin the discussion. Thoracic oncologists are well versed in the latest research and experimental treatments. Let your doctor know that you are interested in being part of a clinical trial.

Search for Clinical Trials with Antidote Match™

Antidote Match™ connects people with medical research studies, in the fastest and easiest way possible. All you need to do is answer a few questions, and they will find the right trials for you. You gain access to the latest medical developments and world-class care.

ClinicalTrials.gov image

Search for Clinical Trials at ClinicalTrials.gov

ClinicalTrials.gov is a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world.

Clearly the participation in clinical trials benefits all lung cancer patients by providing doctors with a better understanding of promising new treatments but the potential benefit to an individual patient is of equal if not greater importance.

  • You may get a new treatment for your specific lung cancer before it is available to everyone.
  • Clinical trials allow you to play a more active role in your own health care.
  • Clinical Trial providers may provide you with medical care and more frequent health check-ups as part of your treatment.
  • You might be “paying it forward.” Helping others get better treatment for their health problems in the future.

Clinical Trials Change Lives

“Lung cancer research is both my current and my next best hope. I was given 3-5 months to live in 2008. Before being identified as ALK+, I had run out of treatment options and was given mere months to live. After a biopsy revealed my ALK mutation, I joined a phase I clinical trial for the first ALK inhibitor, hoping that my life would be extended for a few months.

Instead, twelve years later, I am still here. My youngest was seven when I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thanks to research, I will see him graduate from MIT this fall.

Diagnosed at the age of 45, I am now 60, thanks to lung cancer research. I do not object to getting old, in fact, it is my objective. Research has extended my life far beyond what I ever thought possible.”

~ Linnea Olson, ALK+ Lung Cancer Patient/Advocate
Linnea is living thanks to clinical trials.


More people are living with lung cancer.

Follow the hopeful stories of lung cancer survivors: Frank McKenna, Jill Feldman, and Ivy Elkins.


Learn more about clinical trials

Watch these Hope With Answers videos to learn more about clinical trials from Dr. Ross Camidge and patient advocates Lysa Buonanno and Janet Freeman-Daily.


New lung cancer research is saving more lives.

Stand with survivors and help fund lung cancer research. By donating to LCFA, you help to fund innovative new research in the field of lung cancer treatment.