How Successful Are Clinical Trials for Breast Cancer?

Calendar Icon June 29, 2021
Reading Time Icon Read Time: 4 min
By Ciitizen

Clinical trials are a significant part of the process behind launching new medicines, cosmetics, and other products that interact with the human body. They take time to complete, both for the researchers and the patients who engage in them. Clinical trials explicitly done for breast cancer medications and other treatments are no different.

Many people want to know: how successful are clinical trials for breast cancer? After all, these trials can provide hope for finally beating the disease, and many prospective participants want to know success rates ahead of time.

While not all clinical trials are successful, it is important not to let this discourage you. You should be armed with all the facts before you decide to participate in any clinical trial.

How Successful Are These Trials?

Clinical trials occur in phases. Before approval can happen for any medication, it needs to pass phase three of clinical testing.

One study assessed a selection of clinical trials. It found that just a little over half of those clinical trials failed in their third phase. However, the rest of the trials, which made up 46% of the selection, were approved either by the FDA or for use in other countries.

So, how successful are clinical trials for breast cancer? A 2018 study found that 35% of the trials that were introducing new kinds of treatments were successful.

That may seem like a low chance of success, but remember that cancer is a resilient disease. Finding new treatments takes a great deal of work, and having one in every three new treatments being approved still provides new means to tackle the disease for thousands of people.

To put that in perspective, among the clinical trials for cancer medications, breast cancer has the highest probability of success. Another study done in 2018 found that about 10% of breast cancer medications moved successfully from phase one all the way to a successful release. This compares favorably to the average for cancer medications, which is 3.3%, according to the same study.

What Factors Can Affect a Clinical Trial?

After asking yourself, how successful are clinical trials for breast cancer, knowing the factors that determine this success is essential.

In some cases, the effectiveness of the medication in treating the variant of breast cancer that it was developed for is in doubt.

Safety is one of the primary considerations when developing new treatments. If a treatment is unable to meet what is considered an acceptable threshold for safety, it may not reach the market in some countries. Some treatments are considered safe enough for use in some countries but not others, which explains why certain drugs are only approved abroad.

In some instances, a drug may be sufficiently effective and safe, but how the trial is organized can affect the data. This can be seen in trials that have a small number of participants, for instance.

The bright side of a trial that does not reach phase three is that a significant amount of crucial information and data is gained, even if it is not successful. This information is invaluable for future trials.

How Does a Clinical Trial Become a Cure?

A clinical trial occurs in either three or four phases, and once it has successfully passed these, it becomes a life-saving medicine available to the general public. Before participating in a clinical trial, it’s helpful to understand how this process works and what each phase is all about.

  • The first phase is where medicines are tested for the first time on humans. It starts with a small group of people who do not necessarily have the condition in question. This helps the researchers determine any side effects and the safe dosage to use the drug at. This phase occurs over many months.
  • Once a drug has passed phase one, it progresses to the second phase. This has a larger group than the first phase, and the participants have the disease or condition that the medication is meant to treat. The main aim is to look for any side effects that may show up. Safety is a huge concern with new medications. This phase can take place over several years.
  • In the third phase, which is the deciding step for most treatments, the medication is tested on a larger group of people from different parts of the world, of different races and genders, who all have the disease. This step should prove if the drug is as effective or more effective than the current options for that condition. When a drug passes phase three, there is typically enough evidence of its effectiveness and safety. From there, it can be approved.
  • There is a phase four, which occurs after approval. This happens when a drug requires additional testing over a longer amount of time.

How Can Ciitizen Help?

It is estimated that less than 5% of all adults with cancer participate in clinical trials. For every one person who participates in a clinical trial, as many as eight more never get the chance to, which keeps them away from treatment that can be potentially life-saving.

Here at Ciitizen, we want to change that by connecting individuals with breast cancer directly to clinical trials, as long as they fulfill all their criteria. It’s never been easier to find clinical trials.

By having all your health records in a single, secure location, determining your eligibility is a breeze. With all your records safe and organized with us, you can be part of the foundation of new life-saving treatments.

Ciitizen is a free service that helps patients get more out of their health records. Our platform enables patients to find better treatment options and gives them the opportunity to advance the research for cures.

Ready to get your medical records in order? Get started today!

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