Lung Cancer Clinical Trials

We run one of the nation’s largest programs for new lung cancer therapies.

While existing treatments may cure early-stage lung cancer, the disease is often not diagnosed until it has advanced. Clinical trials are underway to provide more effective options for lung cancer that spreads, stops responding to treatment or returns.

Our team can help you decide if you want to pursue a clinical trial and if there’s a trial that’s a good fit for you. We helped secure approval for the first two immunotherapies for lung cancer. Today, we run one of the nation’s most active programs for lung cancer clinical trials.

Clinical trials covering a range of lung cancers and approaches

At any time, we offer up to 20 clinical trials for lung cancer. We’re investigating a variety of methods, with a focus on using immunotherapy and targeted therapy in new ways and identifying new drugs. We made key contributions to the first two immunotherapies, nivolumab (Opdivo®) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda®).

Most of our trials focus on non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer, and on later stages of the disease. But we regularly offer clinical trials for small cell lung cancer and all stages of lung cancer, too.

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If you were diagnosed with lung cancer we may have a clinical trial for you.

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Diagnosed with lung cancer?

When facing a life-changing cancer diagnosis, you may want to take a crucial, but often overlooked step: Get a second opinion.

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Henry Ford Cancer Institute’s leading lung cancer research

At Henry Ford, our lung cancer research attempts to identify new treatments. We also want to determine when to use the latest approaches and when to combine them. In addition to new options for advanced lung cancer, we’re studying alternatives for people who have inoperable tumors or can’t have surgery.

Our current and recent clinical trials include:

  • Testing new immunotherapies and targeted therapies and developing ways to tell who will respond well
  • Removing immune cells from the cancer, growing them outside the body and replacing them after chemotherapy (we are one of a dozen centers doing so)
  • Giving whole-brain radiation therapy for lung cancer that’s spread
  • Pairing new and existing immunotherapies for people who don’t initially respond or stop responding
  • Comparing types of surgery for lung cancer diagnosed early
  • Using immunotherapy before surgery or radiation therapy
  • Trying targeted radiation therapy for early-stage, inoperable cancer

How lung cancer clinical trials work

Lung cancer trials proceed through phases. First, we determine if the approach is safe. Then we evaluate if it’s effective and works better than existing options. Our thoracic cancer program includes all phases of clinical trials.

The goal of a clinical trial is to gain approval for a new treatment that will help as many people as possible. Participating in trials can give you early access to promising therapies. Assuming you’re eligible, joining a trial is voluntary and always your decision.

Clinical trials must follow strict guidelines set ahead of time and made clear to participants. They are approved and overseen by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), made up of doctors, scientists, statisticians and laypeople. The board ensures a reasonable balance between expected risk and benefit.

Participating in a lung cancer clinical trial

To ensure the safety of participants and the usefulness of collected data, eligibility guidelines vary from trial to trial. Not everyone qualifies for a particular clinical trial.

Your Henry Ford team works with you and your loved ones to determine if you might benefit from a clinical trial and wish to participate. Team members will explain the process further, including the potential risks and benefits.

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