Clinical Trials

A clinical trial is a research study that people with cancer and other diseases participate in to help doctors improve future treatments. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the research participants in a clinical trial follow a pre-determined protocol to evaluate the effectiveness of a specific medical intervention on treatment outcomes. Not only do clinical trial participants help to improve their own health, they contribute to medical research that could improve future cancer treatments. Participants often have access to experimental drugs and treatments that help advance medical research.

The Schwab Family Cancer Center (SFCC) Patient Participation in Clinical Trials

Patients receiving care at the Schwab Family Cancer Center have access to clinical trials that test new treatments, investigate new ways of preventing cancer, screen patients for earlier diagnosis, and monitor the quality of life and/or psychological impact of cancer.

The SFCC is a member of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) under the affiliation of the University of Pittsburgh. Membership in the ECOG provides not only more opportunities for our patients to participate in clinical trials but allows them to stay in Cumberland while participating.

In the past year, 74 patients were enrolled in studies here at UPMC Western Maryland and 23 of those are participating in studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute through our affiliation with ECOG. These ECOG studies include treatment trials for a variety of solid tumors and lymphomas, as well as prevention studies for colon and breast cancer.

The remaining patients were enrolled in a variety of industry-sponsored studies. These include diagnostic, observational, registry, and supportive care trials, as well as treatment-related trials for breast cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), polycythemia vera, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Some of these patients were connected to other institutions that provided access to additional clinical trials. Institutions where some patients participated in studies included:

  • Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center, Washington, DC
  • National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • University of Maryland Greenbaum Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland
  • UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

How to Join a Clinical Trial

If you’re interested in improving your own care and helping to create more options for future cancer patients, let your oncologist know that you are interested in participating in a clinical trial.

Your oncologist will work with clinical trials nurses to determine what clinical trial(s) you are eligible for by reviewing information relevant to your diagnosis. Your oncologist will discuss with you the clinical trials you are eligible for so you can make the best decision for your circumstances.

Current Clinical Trials

Hematology Studies

A Randomized Phase III Study of Ibrutinib Plus Obinutuzumab Versus Ibrutinib Plus Venetoclax and Obinutuzumab in Untreated Older Patients (>/= 70 Years of Age) with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

A Randomized Phase III Study of the Addition of Venetoclax to Ibrutinib and Obinutuzumab Versus Ibrutinib and Obinutuzumab in Untreated Younger Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

The Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Disease Registry

Breast Cancer

MammaPrint, BluePrint, and Full-genome Data Linked With Clinical Data to Evaluate New Gene EXpression Profiles: An Adaptable Registry (FLEX Registry)
Randomized Phase III Trial Evaluating the Role of Weight Loss in Adjuvant Treatment of Overweight and Obese Women with Early Breast Cancer (BWEL)

A Phase II Study of Rucaparib in Patients with Genomic LOH High and/or Deleterious BRCA1/2 Mutation Stage IV or Recurrent Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (LUNG-MAP Sub-Study)


A Phase II Study of Selpercatinib (LOXO-292) in Patients with RET Fusion-Positive Stage IV or Recurrent Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (LUNG-MAP Sub-Study)


A Phase II Study of Talazoparib Plus Avelumab in Patients with Stage IV or Recurrent Non-Squamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Bearing Pathogenic STK11 Genomic Alterations (LUNG-MAP Sub-Study)

A Phase II Randomized Study of Ramucirumab Plus MK3475 (Pembrolizumab) Versus Standard of Care for Patients Previously Treated with Immunotherapy for Stage IV or Recurrent Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (Lung-MAP Non-Matched Sub-Study)

A Phase II Study of MEDI4736 (Durvalumab) Plus Tremelimumab as Therapy for Patients with Previously Treated Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 Resistant Stage IV Squamous Cell Lung Cancer (LUNG-MAP NON-MATCH SUB-STUDY)

Alliance A081801

Integration of Immunotherapy Into Adjuvant Therapy for Resected NSCLC: ALCHEMIST Chemo-IO

Alliance A081105

Randomized Study of Erlotinib Vs Observation in Patients With Completely Resected Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Mutant Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)


A Randomized Phase III Trial for Surgically Resected Early Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Crizotinib Versus Observation for Patients with Tumors Harboring the Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) Fusion Protein

Colon Cancer

Alliance A021703

Randomized Double-Blind Phase III Trial of Vitamin D3 Supplementation in Patients with Previously Untreated Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (SOLARIS)

Other Solid Tumor Studies

Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (MATCH)
Dual Anti-CTLA-4 and Anti-PD-1 Blockade in Rare Tumors

Our Affiliation with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group

The Schwab Family Cancer Center (SFCC) participates in clinical trials with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) managed by the University of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1955, ECOG is one of the first publicly funded corporate organizations in the United States to work with multiple healthcare facilities to conduct clinical trials for cancer research.

ECOG typically works with medical centers such as the SFCC, as well as governments, universities, and similar types of cooperative groups. It works closely with the pharmaceutical industry to test new drugs to treat cancer. You can find the results of ECOG’s research in major scientific publications. Every drug currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came through a clinical trial. That is how critical clinical trials are for the advancement of cancer treatment.