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Clinical Trials is research into new medicines and treatments or new ways to use current treatments. Clinical trials increase our knowledge about cancer and help in the search for better outcomes for patients and families.

Cancer Research is vital in the fight against cancer. It helps build our knowledge and understanding of cancer so that we are continually improving ways of detecting and diagnosing cancer, and developing more targeted cancer treatments to improved patient care.

As a patient participating in a clinical trial today you make a huge contribution to the treatments available for the people who will develop cancer in 5 years.

Prof Paul Harnett, Director Sydney West Cancer Network


What are the benefits for a patient participating in a clinical trial?

Participating in a clinical trial is always rewarding as the patient will make a contribution to the development of better and more successful treatments for future cancer sufferers. Participating in a clinical trial may allow some patients to receive ground-breaking new treatment with specialised clinical care as part of the trial.

What are the risks involved in participating in a clinical trial?

All medical procedures involve some risk and it is important that patients considering participating in a clinical trial be informed about the risks:

  • The new treatments being studied aren't always better than current ones
  • The new treatment may benefit some patients, but may not work for all.
  • The treatment may have side effects or risks that doctors don't know about or expect. This is especially true during phase I and phase II clinical trials.
  • Health insurance and health care providers may or may not cover all patient care costs for clinical trials.

However, before agreeing to take part in a clinical trial all participants must go through an informed consent process. That is, the participant is told by the doctor and/ or research nurse all about the trial. This information will include:

  • what the trial is about and the side–effects and risks of the treatment
  • what the alternative treatment will be if the participant does not want to take part in the trial
  • Participation is voluntary and if the participant declines it will not affect their care by the medical team
  • The participant can withdraw from the trial without requiring to give a reason

This information allows the participant to make an ‘informed decision’

Once the participant is fully satisfied with all the information and agrees to participate, they will sign a Participant Information and Consent Form. A copy of this signed form will be given to the participant.

What clinical trials are available to patients of the Sydney West Cancer Network?

There are over 100 national and international clinical trials currently open to recruitment  across the Sydney West Cancer Network.  

Our clinical trials teams at the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead, Blacktown Cancer Centre and Nepean Cancer Care Centre enrol patients in a range of trials for most cancer types as part of both national and international collaborations. 

Clinical trials are conducted in an ethical framework that complies with the NHMRC National Statement and Good Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Can I participate in one of these clinical trials?

All trials have very strict eligibility criteria and you should ask your treating doctor if there are any open clinical trials that are right for you.
Our clinical trials teams

Our clinical trials teams at each of our facilities across the Sydney West Cancer Network have access to cutting edge medical technology and many also treat people with cancer which drives the interaction between the laboratory and the clinical setting. 

A wide range of treatments are studied in our various clinical trials units ranging from drugs through to radiological and surgical methods, as well as preventative options for combating cancer.


Click on the following web resources for further information on clinical trials:  


Sydney West Cancer Network Medical Oncology Trials Unit: General information on Medical Oncology clinical trials being conducted at Westmead and Blacktown Hospitals. Sydney West Cancer Network 

Cancer Council: Trials and research studies increase our knowledge about cancer and help in the search for better outcomes for patients and families.

Australian Clinical Trials – Australian Government: Information about benefits and risk and patient and clinician stories.

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