Lung cancer clinical trials

What is a clinical trial?

When a person is diagnosed with lung cancer or faces a treatment decision, it is important to explore all options. Clinical trials are research investigations in which people volunteer to test new treatments as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage a disease or medical condition1.

Some trials look at how people respond to a particular treatment and what side effects might occur. This helps determine if it works, if it is safe to use, and if it is better than the treatments that are already available1. A trial might also compare existing treatments, test new ways to use or combine existing treatments or observe how people respond to other factors that might affect their health (such as dietary changes)1.

People participate in clinical trials for a number of reasons and some of the key benefits include:

  • Accessing the newest treatments that are currently not widely available.
  • Gaining a better understanding of their disease and helping others in the future.
  • Playing a more active role in their own healthcare.
  • Receiving additional care from the clinical trial staff.

Clinical trials offer hope for many people who may have exhausted a number of other options already available to them. Participation in clinical trials drives innovation and best practice in healthcare, and generates the evidence needed to aid in decision making. If you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial, the first step is to answer the question – is a clinical trial right for you? Find out if there is something suitable to your situation and what is involved. It is recommended you have this discussion with your specialist.

Lung Foundation Australia currently supports two lung cancer clinical trial initiatives.

The Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group (ALTG)

The Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group (ALTG) is an initiative of Lung Foundation Australia that was established in 2004. The ALTG unites leading clinicians and researchers from across Australia and New Zealand to design, conduct and analyse clinical trials that will help find new advances in the diagnosis, treatments and management of lung cancer.

The Thoracic Alliance for Cancer Trials (TACT)

The Thoracic Alliance for Cancer Trials (TACT) is an international collaboration of academic groups dedicated to facilitating thoracic oncology clinical research that will improve outcomes for people with lung cancer. This worldwide network was established in 2015 with Lung Foundation Australia’s support to develop and conduct clinical trials that require access to extensive and diverse patient networks around the world.

“My treatment now is via a type of chemotherapy called targeted therapies. These drugs target specific genetic mutations that can underlie a particular cancer. Not everyone has them. I started a clinical trial two and a half years ago and I responded very well with quick improvement. It doesn’t mean I’m cured. These targeted therapies inevitably stop working due to resistance, however I’m hoping that won’t happen for a while, and then there may be a new treatment available.”

Marilyn, lives with lung cancer.

Make a difference
The Lung Foundation Australia’s lung cancer research relies on the generosity and support of organisations and individual donors. Every extra dollar ensures more vital research is undertaken as we work towards finding a cure.