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The 'Anatomy' of Clinical Trials: 'Grey's' Season Finale Leaves Public in the Dark About the Myths and Realities
Date:5/22/2008

Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups sheds light on the fact that cancer clinical trials like those on Grey's Anatomy are not just 'do or die.'

PHILADELPHIA, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- With the past several episodes and two-hour season finale of "Grey's Anatomy" centered on the emotional sagas of cancer clinical trial patients and their doctors, the subject tops the list of the country's healthcare "hot topics." While "Grey's" has done a service in making the public aware that cancer clinical trial options exist, the concern is that the drama which makes for a compelling prime-time show doesn't allow for an accurate, nor complete, portrayal of the role clinical trials play in guaranteeing continued progress in the fight against cancer.

The season finale this Thursday will only contribute to the negative perception being portrayed on the show that cancer "clinical trials" usually equal a "death sentence."

"Cancer clinical trials are highly-structured and follow a well-defined protocol with careful supervision," said Robert L. Comis, MD, President and Chairman of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups. "Trials can provide patients at all stages of cancer with the most cutting-edge medical treatment, the highest level of care and the possibility of more effective therapy than if they went the standard course. A clinical trial is a treatment option to be considered at the point of diagnosis-not only a last-ditch effort when all other options are exhausted."

A clinical trial is a carefully monitored medical research study in which people participate to test new methods of prevention, screening, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. The majority of patients who participate in cancer clinical trials do so in phase III studies, which are designed to evaluate whether a new treatment or procedure is more effective than the current standard of care.

The knowledge gained through cancer clinical trial research has helped scientists and
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SOURCE The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups
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