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San Cancer Services

Clinical trials

Working to advance cancer treatment options

The San’s Clinical Trials Unit is a not-for-profit organisation, and part of the Adventist HealthCare group. Since 2005, we have participated in more than 100 clinical trials, all of which aim to deliver better patient outcomes through advanced oncology treatment options.

What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are research studies that investigate whether new approaches to cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment are possible. Trials are the link between scientific discoveries and making new treatments available to people – and they’re the best way to improve the treatment options for people with cancer.

Not only do clinical trials provide essential information about the effectiveness and side effects of treatments, their results help improve treatments for future cancer patients. 

The four phases of a clinical trial


These are the first studies involving humans, testing how the drug should be given and if it is safe. They are conducted over a few days to weeks with small numbers of healthy volunteers or terminally ill people.


These trials look at safety and efficacy and seek to find the best dose to maximise benefit and minimise side effects. They involve more people and can take months to years.


These trials confirm safety and efficacy, often in comparison with ‘standard of care’ drugs. They involve larger numbers of people, sometimes up to thousands, over many months to years, and provide the data for government approval of drugs.


These trials are for long-term safety monitoring and information gathering, and post marketing approval.

The San’s Clinical Trials Unit concentrates on Phase 2, 3 and 4 clinical trials.

How are clinical trials managed?

Doctors are responsible for all clinical trials offered at the San, and they are managed by a collaborative group of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, pathologists and radiology staff. The process is coordinated by experienced clinical trial coordinators, and treatments are either delivered in the Poon Day Infusion Centre or as outpatient treatments. All clinical trials in Australia must undergo review and approval by an independent Ethics Committee before they commence, and cancer treatments can only become standard if proven in a clinical trial.

Who we partner with

We offer clinical trial participation in multi-centre, national and international clinical trials run by pharmaceutical companies and collaborative national groups such as Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG), the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP), the Australia New Zealand Gynaecology / Oncology Group (ANZGOG), and the ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZBCTG). 

Taking part in a clinical trial

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, here are the steps involved:

  • Your treating physician will discuss the clinical trial with you during your consultation, and you’ll be given some paperwork to take home and read. This explains all the associated risks and benefits involved in the treatment, and should help you to make an informed choice.
  • If you choose to participate, you will be asked to sign relevant documents (you’ll be given a copy for your records).
  • In most cases, medical tests (such as blood tests) will need to be done to confirm your eligibility.
  • If you’re eligible to participate in a trial, you will be taken care of by a clinical trial coordinator, who will work with your medical team to capture detailed records about your experience on the trial.
  • You can withdraw from the trial at any time if you choose. This will not affect your future care – you’ll simply revert to receiving the standard treatment for your cancer type.
  • Your treatment can be stopped at any time during the trial if it is not working effectively, or if you’re experiencing severe side effects.

Donate to clinical trials

The San Clinical Trials Unit is a not-for-profit organisation, and we appreciate any assistance our community is able to give. Donations over $2 are tax deductible, and all donations are handled by the San Foundation.

To make a donation online, please follow this simple process.

Complete the first section of the form confirming timing and amount of your donation and click 'Continue'.
In the 'Message' box at the top of the page enter 'Donate to Clinical Trials Unit'.
Complete the rest of the form and click 'Complete'.

Donate now

You also have the option of donating by phone or fax, mail, or email if you do not wish to do so online. Visit the San Foundation website for more information. 

Contact us

Please direct all enquiries to CTU Manager, Nina Singh on 02 9480 6280 or email