Most people taking a prescription drug don't give much thought to its origin. They check the dosage, note the possible side effects, pop the pill and hope it works quickly.
Few know that medications take at least eight years to get from the laboratory to the pharmacist's shelf. Many take even longer. Hundreds of scientists work to get a drug ready for approval by the FDA. And thousands of everyday people participate in the testing process, known as clinical trials. All drugs go through clinical trials, including cancer therapies.
The National Cancer Institute defines a clinical trial as one of the final stages of a research process, to find out whether new approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer are safe and effective. At The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ), more than 50 clinical trials are currently underway. There are four types: The most common is treatment trials, which test new drugs. Other types look at new methods of prevention, screening, and improving cancer patients' comfort.
The magazine of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey