Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Clinical Trials

About Clinical Trials

 

The Methodist Obstetrics and Gynecology Group is committed to finding the most effective treatments for diseases and conditions affecting women’s health. One very important method of improving our ability to care for our patients is through clinical trials of innovative surgical options and medicines. Current trials include new chemotherapy options, especially for recurrent cancer, and prevention and treatment of problems during pregnancy, including hypothyroidism and short cervix.

We recommend that interested patients speak with their physicians about participation in these studies. To find out whether you fit the criteria for a particular trial, contact Dr. Carol Robazetti-Hodgson at 713-441-6616.

Frequently Asked Questions About Clinical Trials

Who participates in clinical trials?

As part of our ongoing commitment to research, the Methodist Obstetrics and Gynecology Group offers state-of-the-art clinical trials to patients who meet the necessary criteria. These patients may be selected by their doctors, or they may be able to sign up on their own in the case of trials which are open to the public. While these clinical trials are meant to advance the science of disease treatment, they also offer patients alternatives to conventional therapy, particularly in situations where conventional therapy has little to offer or has proven to be ineffective.

Am I a “guinea pig” in these trials?

Although some patients may worry that a clinical trial might be an unregulated or dangerous experiment, the reality is very much the contrary. Our medical trials are sponsored by the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), a premier organization in the field of clinical research. GOG member institutions, including The Methodist Hospital, are at the forefront of gynecological cancer research and conduct trials with the highest possible scientific and patient safety standards.

Therefore, if you are a participant in a clinical trial, you can be assured that the trial will follow an approved scientific protocol, and we will take all measures to ensure your well-being. The Methodist mission of compassionate care applies as much to our clinical trial participants as to any other patient; we are here to take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs, as well as those of your loved ones.

What kind of clinical trials do you perform?

Our group offers three main types of clinical trials: treatment trials, laboratory test trials and pharmaceutical trials. Treatment trials involve the testing of a medical or surgical procedure which shows promise for the treatment of a condition, whether it is a unique procedure or an improved version of a conventional procedure. Laboratory test trials investigate ways in which conventional therapies can be better used. One example is a chemosensitivity assay, which tests the effects of different combinations of chemotherapy upon tumor cells removed from a patient. One current assay trial being conducted by our group is for the ChemoFX Assay.

Pharmaceutical trials are particularly groundbreaking, as they often involve the most recent advances in medication therapy. However, these trials are still approved by an IRB (Institutional Review Board) before being conducted, to ensure that there are no legal or ethical problems or safety issues for patients.

What are some of the possible benefits of participating in a clinical trial?

Besides having the opportunity to benefit patients and physicians by taking part in medical research, you will also be one of the first to receive that same benefit if the therapy being tested is successful. Your medical care is also even more comprehensive than our already-strong standard care; as a clinical trial participant, you will have an additional multidisciplinary group of researching physicians monitoring your health at all times, along with your regular care team.

Furthermore, our clinical trials are easy on participants in a financial sense. Sponsored clinical trials cover all costs beyond that which is considered a part of your standard care (such as doctor copays). Since your participation is entirely voluntary, you also have the freedom to decline participation before or during the trial.

What are some of the possible risks of participating in a clinical trial?

The major risk of participating in a clinical trial is similar to any therapy, in that you may experience side effects. However, as you will be closely monitored, your response to treatment, including side effects, will be assessed and the appropriate response taken. Patients will be informed of any new risks or benefits which arise within the participant group as the study proceeds.

Other risks may vary from trial to trial and from patient to patient. It is important to discuss these with your doctor before participating in a clinical trial.