Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Trials and Research

We offer the most advanced treatment available, including the latest head and neck cancer clinical trials.

Any cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. If you’ve been diagnosed with a head or neck tumor, you want to know you’re receiving the best available care. The Henry Ford Cancer Institute is among the top programs in the country for treating head and neck cancer. Through our clinical trials and other research, our specialists have helped to pioneer advanced procedures and other therapies as well as improve outcomes.

Spotlight: patient-driven research in head and neck cancer

Our head and neck research program is a collaboration between doctors, clinician-scientists and PhD researchers who specialize and prioritize research. As a result, our doctors integrate head and neck cancer research into the care we provide you.

We follow a patient-centered approach in all of our head and neck cancer research. This includes our Patient Advisory Council, a resource that we use to ensure we are focusing on areas past survival. We understand that you also worry about side effects, time off work, quality of life over time and your ability to care for your family. Ultimately, listening to the “patient voice,” helps us determine what matters most to you and improve both our research and cancer care.

We also participate in a 10-institution, collaborative group in the Cancer Research Network. This offers medical information for a large group of ethnically, racially and geographically diverse group of patients who have head and neck cancer. Ultimately, this helps us to advance the understanding of head and neck cancer treatment in a wide variety of patients.

The latest head and neck tumor clinical trials and other research

At any time, we offer around 15 clinical trials for head and neck cancer as well as other research studies that increase our understanding of head and neck cancer. While the specific trials and studies we offer change over time, they focus on several core areas:

  • Precancers and early detection, including genetic markers
  • Advanced treatments that use immunotherapy, heat, radiation and other emerging, noninvasive therapies
  • Minimally invasive surgery, including robotic procedures
  • Neck dissection (surgery to remove lymph nodes and surrounding tissue)
  • Recurrent cancers
  • Head and neck cancer survivorship
  • Speech, swallowing and other functional and cognitive outcomes after treatment

Collectively, these efforts help us to develop effective ways to detect, diagnose and treat head and neck tumors and related conditions, advancing the level of care for all of our patients.

How a head or neck cancer clinical trial works

When you participate in a clinical trial, you’re getting access to the latest experimental therapies available. These voluntary head and neck cancer research studies help to test the safety and effectiveness of emerging treatments, which may include:

  • Drugs
  • Devices
  • Therapeutic procedures
  • New ways of using existing treatments or devices
  • New ways to reduce symptoms caused by head and neck tumors or treatment
  • Improving quality of life during and after treatment

Other clinical trials focus on improving outcomes and quality of life for people who have a head or neck tumor. Ultimately, the knowledge gained from this type of cancer research helps to develop new standards of care beneficial to all patients.

All clinical trials conducted in the United States must adhere to a strict, predetermined protocol and must be approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) composed of physicians, scientists, statisticians and laypeople who are responsible for ensuring that any risks are minimal relative to the potential benefits of the study. Learn more about how cancer clinical trials work.

Participating in a head or neck cancer clinical trial

Not all patients are eligible to enroll, and each head and neck clinical trial has its own guidelines for who can participate. These guidelines are in place to ensure the safety of trial participants and make sure the data we collect can be used to evaluate the trial’s effectiveness.

Typically, the decision to participate is made by your care team in conjunction with you and your family as part of your overall personalized treatment plan.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.

Schedule Appointment Online

Please call 911 if you have an emergency or urgent medical question.

Already a Henry Ford patient?
For the best experience, existing Henry Ford patients can request and self-schedule appointments through Henry Ford MyChart.

Henry Ford Health is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email [email protected].

Schedule Appointment for