Cancer treatments and knowledge about cancer have improved dramatically in the past decades. A child diagnosed with leukemia in the 1970s, for example, had no chance of survival. Today, the survival rates top 85 percent. Such an accomplishment would not have been possible without research. One form of research is a clinical trial.

Clinical trials are research studies that are carefully designed to answer questions about the safety and effectiveness of new medical treatments. In addition to drugs and devices, these treatments could involve types of exercise, nutritional regimens or mental health therapies.

Some people participate in clinical trials to help others and to take part in the research process that, over the years, has made improvements in treatment. Study results could lead to improved treatments or drugs for future patients. A clinical trial is an important link in turning laboratory discoveries into actual treatments. There is also a chance that a drug being tested is of more benefit than drugs that are currently available.

Within Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, many new drugs and therapy approaches are being studied to improve treatment for a wide variety of cancers. Drugs that can reverse epigenetic abnormalities are among the latest drugs being developed and studied. Epigenetics is a fairly new field of research—it involves studying alterations in gene expression, not from changes or mutations in DNA itself, but in "downstream" processes that affect the "interpreting" of the DNA code. This area of study is ripe with possibilities for learning more about cell function and improving treatment for cancer and other diseases. The National Institutes of Health has devoted funding to epigenetic research through its institutes, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

MU's new Clinical Research Center includes an advanced inpatient Phase 1 clinical trials unit, five inpatient beds, three outpatient examination rooms, a metabolic kitchen for nutrition studies, an exercise facility, and a variety of information technology resources. Part of a $5 million multistage renovation project, the center is located in a building that connects MU's School of Medicine with University Hospital.

The new Clinical Research Center expands on the University of Missouri's many existing resources for translational research. MU is one of the few universities in the nation with schools and colleges of medicine, engineering, nursing, health professions, veterinary medicine, agriculture, and business, as well as a nuclear research reactor and comprehensive academic medical center all on the same campus.

For more information or to learn how you can
support Ellis Fischel Cancer Center,
please contact:

MU Health Care Office of Advancement

University of Missouri Health Care
One Hospital Drive, DC066.00
Columbia, MO 65212
(573) 882-0488