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Northwestern's Clinical Trials

A clinical trial is a type of clinical research study that tests a new medical approach in people to make sure it is safe and effective. A clinical trial is sometimes called a research protocol or a clinical study.

What kinds of trials are available to you at the Lurie Cancer Center?

  • New drugs or vaccines
  • New ways to do surgery
  • New ways to do radiation therapy
  • New combination therapies and treatments
  • New ways to manage the side effects of cancer treatments
  • New ways to store tissue for future research
  • New behavioral interventions aimed at improving quality of life
  • New behavioral therapies that can help treat cancer-related distress


The Lurie Cancer Center is typically involved in more than 300 clinical trials at a given time, covering a broad range of subjects. Some clinical trials study a drug, a medical device, or a new way of doing surgery. Others test new ways to prevent disease, diagnose cancer, improve quality of life, or help people with cancer manage difficult psychological and social issues. Some clinical trials are small, with just a few patients. Others are large and involve thousands of patients at Northwestern and other medical centers.

Clinical trials have played an important role in the fight against cancer. They are the only scientific way to prove whether a new treatment works better than current treatments. Most of the approaches that doctors use to treat cancer today would never have become available without clinical trials.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, feel that you are at high risk of being diagnosed with cancer, or if you are a survivor, ask your doctor if a clinical trial is right for you--now or possibly in the future.

You can search the Lurie Cancer Center's Clinical Trials on our website or contact our Clinical Research and Education Specialist, Sara Duffey, at 312-695-1102 or cancertrials@northwestern.edu for personalized assistance.

Additional information resources

Learn more about Clinical Trials and about choosing to participate.