The Systemic Therapy Clinical Trials Unit (STCTU) is responsible for conducting most of the clinical trials for the department of Medical Oncology at the Vancouver Island Centre. These clinical trials may include, but are not limited to, studies of new cancer therapies (i.e. new chemotherapies, biological agents or hormone therapies), new technologies (i.e. PET scanning), lifestyle and supportive care programs.
These trials may have been designed by local researchers; however, the majority are headed up by national and international cooperative groups such as the
Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI, previously the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC)),
National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP),
Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG),
Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), and
Breast Cancer International Research Group (BCIRG), as well as pharmaceutical companies.
The first NCIC clinical trial to open at the Vancouver Island Centre was an ovarian cancer trial in 1980. Since that time more than 1,180 participants have been randomized to clinical trials involving all major tumour sites. At any one time the systemic therapy research unit usually has 8 to 12 open clinical trials that are actively accruing participants, and 20 to 30 closed trials that are still collecting data on previously enrolled participants.
Open Clinical Trials for a list of currently open trials being run through the STCTU.
Process for Patients
Patients wanting to participate in a clinical trial should consult their oncologist about whether they are a candidate for any currently open clinical trial. Research studies define very clearly the question they are trying to answer and have very strict criteria as to who is eligible and not eligible to participate. It is possible that a patient may not be suitable for any currently open study run by the Systemic Therapy Clinical Trials Unit (STCTU).
The oncologist and/or a research nurse or intern will discuss the appropriate trial with you in more detail. You will be given a consent form to read which will help you decide if you want to participate. Your care at the BC Cancer Agency is not affected by whether or not you choose to join a research trial. As with any treatment, a participant may choose to stop participating in a trial at any time and will still continue to receive the best available care. Any participant planning to withdraw from a study should discuss this decision with their treating oncologist.
Process for Researchers
Researchers wanting to open a clinical trial through the Vancouver Island Centre STCTU are required to submit a copy of the research proposal to Lesley Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) and complete a Resource Impact Assessment form. The STCTU Steering Committee evaluates, and subsequently may approve to open, a trial. The Steering Committee meets on the fourth Friday of each month.
Dr. Vanessa Bernstein
Dr. Nicol Macpherson
Manager, Systemic Therapy Clinical Trials Unit: