Aspirus Regional Cancer Center


Research and Clinical Trials

The Aspirus Regional Cancer Center is able to offer access to the latest research studies and clinical trials through partnership with various institutions and pharmaceutical companies. 

Through our research affiliation with the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center (UWCCC) in Madison, we are a part of a satellite system called Wisconsin Oncology Network (WON) offering clinical trials to patients with advanced disease.  In addition, we are also able to offer federally sponsored studies available through the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the Radiologic Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG). 

Because of the Aspirus Regional Cancer Center’s research affiliation with the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCOW), we are able to offer studies through the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP). 

What Are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are research studies in which people help doctors find ways to improve health and cancer care. Each study tries to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer.

Why Are There Clinical Trials?

A clinical trial is one of the final stages of a long and careful cancer research process. Studies are done with cancer patients to find out whether promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are safe and effective.

What are the phases of clinical trials?

Most clinical research that involves the testing of a new drug progresses in an orderly series of steps, called phases. This allows researchers to ask and answer questions in a way that results in reliable information about the drug and protects the patients. Clinical trials are usually classified into one of three phases:

  • Phase I trials – These first studies in people evaluate how a new drug should be given (by mouth, injected into the blood, or injected into the muscle), how often, and what dose is safe.  A Phase I trial usually enrolls only a small number of patients, sometimes as few as a dozen patients, and they are usually offered in a very limited number of locations nationwide. 
  • Phase II trials – These studies will show how well a drug works against specific types of cancer and will provide information about its risks and benefits.  If a drug has been shown to work in the Phase II portion of study, it is considered ready for large-scale Phase III study.
  • Phase III trials – These studies test a new drug, a new combination of drugs, or a new surgical procedure in comparison to the current standard for treatment. A participant will usually be assigned to the standard treatment group or the new treatment group at random (called randomization). Phase III trials often enroll large numbers of people and may be conducted at many doctors' offices, clinics, and cancer centers nationwide.