Australia's Biggest Morning Tea

Every dollar raised makes an incredible difference

Register Now

Phases of clinical trials

Things to know about phases of clinical trials   

All cancer clinical trials follow a stringent, highly regulated process to ensure that the benefits of what is being developed outweigh any risks.   

Cancer researchers focus years of time and effort on developing and testing medicines or treatments in laboratories before they progress to the first phase of a clinical trial. The new intervention or treatment is then tested in a series of phases.

The information and data gathered in each trial phase inform whether the study can move to the next phase of research and ultimately whether the intervention can be approved for public use and become standard practice.

Phases of clinical trials

  • Phase 1: Safety – tests the safety of a new treatment by finding the safest dose and the best way it can be given, identifies side effects and checks how the treatment works with other medicines or food (interactions). This phase is the first study in people and often includes people with different types of cancer.
  • Phase 2: Effectiveness – builds on the results of the phase 1 trial by continuing to test the safety of the new treatment. This phase begins to assess how well the new treatment works on the disease.
  • Phase 3: Comparison – tests if the new treatment is better than the best currently available treatment (standard treatment) by comparing side effects, survival and quality of life. This phase collects information that allows new treatments and existing treatments to be used in new ways or for different diseases.
  • Phase 4: Follow-up – identifies how well the new treatment works when used more widely in the real world by monitoring the long-term benefits and risks. This phase looks for other uses of the treatment.

Talking bubbles icon

Questions about cancer?

Call or email our experienced cancer nurses for information and support.

Contact a cancer nurse