Clinical Trials Bring New Treatments to Cancer Patients


Dr. Sung Ho Lee

Clinical trials are medical research studies that look for new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Cancer patients at Montefiore Nyack Hospital are evaluated to see if they are eligible for a clinical trial. Those who choose to participate in a clinical trial receive comprehensive, advanced care, sometimes well before it is available anywhere else, according to Sung Ho Lee, MD, Director of Clinical Research at Montefiore Nyack Hospital.

Most clinical trials at the hospital are testing treatments that have already been studied in smaller groups of patients for safety and effectiveness, Dr. Lee said. “Our studies tend to be late Phase II, Phase III or IV, meaning the treatments have already been shown effective in earlier phases. We are part of studies being done at multiple national and international sites that are testing the treatments in larger groups of patients. We focus on treatments that will benefit our patients through early adoption of effective regimens that are not yet available to the general public.”

Clinical Trials at Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Many of the studies being conducted at Montefiore Nyack Hospital involve treatments for breast cancer, lung cancer, or lymphoma. One trial is evaluating a new immunotherapy drug for Stage III lung cancer. “We were the first site to enroll patients in the United States in the study,” Dr. Lee noted.

Another study involves Mammaprint, a genetic test for breast cancer. The test looks at the activity of 70 genes and then calculates a recurrence score that is either low risk or high risk. Knowing if a woman has a high or low risk of early-stage breast cancer might help women and their doctors decide if chemotherapy or other treatments to reduce risk after surgery are needed.  “Patients in the trial are able to receive the test without out of pocket cost,” Dr. Lee said.

“All patients enrolled in our clinical trials receive standard treatment for their disease, even if they are not receiving the experimental treatment,” he said. All of the hospital’s trials meet the strict standards of hospital ethics committee.

Why Consider a Clinical Trial?
There are a number of potential benefits from being part of a clinical trial:

  • You may have access to new drugs and other treatments before they are widely available.
  • You will get regular and careful medical attention and will be monitored closely for any side effects.
  • You will be playing an active role in your healthcare.
  • You will be helping others by contributing to medical research.
  • Patients who enroll in a clinical trial at Montefiore Nyack Hospital receive their treatment from experienced staff focused on patient safety and care.
  • There is financial benefit for patients, who undergo study procedures that are covered by the sponsor.
  • Patients always have the option to leave a clinical trial at any time and for any reason.

Montefiore Nyack Hospital is one of 1,200 institutions around the world that are part of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, which conducts cancer research involving adults who have or are at risk of developing cancer. “This membership gives us the opportunity to conduct clinical trials that are part of a network of leading national medical centers,” Dr. Lee said.

To find out about clinical trials being conducted at Montefiore Nyack Hospital, visit montefiorenyack.org/clinical-trials.