Referring Your Patient for a Clinical Trial

The Clinical Trials Office (CTO) at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center was established in 2017 and currently has six full-time staff members including Director Dr. Cheryl London. The CTO oversees a variety of trials involving a wide spectrum of diseases including cancer, kidney disease, arthritis, and neurologic conditions, among others.

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials typically involve evaluation of a new treatment, device, diagnostic test or procedure. The ultimate goal of this work is to improve the health and well-being of veterinary patients through such things as better care or earlier diagnosis. In some cases, a study may be very short (i.e., one day) and in others, several visits may be required. Prior to enrollment in a clinical trial, the study staff and attending veterinarians at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center will evaluate your patient to determine whether s/he is eligible to enroll. They will also provide the owner with every available option for diagnosis and treatment outside of the study.

What are the benefits of participating in a clinical trial?

  • Your patient will receive care from a highly specialized support team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians who monitor progress in the study very closely.
  • Typically, some, if not all of the costs of participating in the clinical study, including medications, blood tests, treatments, and follow-up may be covered. Additionally, many studies provide financial credit at Foster Hospital for Small Animals for future treatments once the trial is complete.
  • In some cases, a clinical study in which your patient may participate will not only help advance the care of veterinary patients but will also provide important new information that can improve the care of human patients affected by the same or similar disease.

Review and Protocols

Each trial is led by a lead principal investigator (PI), with other veterinarians and staff providing expertise and support. All clinical studies are rigorously evaluated by the Clinical Studies Review Committee (CSRC) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to approval.

If an owner is interested in enrolling their pet into a study, they will receive a consent form that provides details about the study, responsibilities, and commitments associated with the study, potential risks and benefits and what financial considerations are provided following enrollment. They will also be given opportunities to discuss the study with you, family, friends and study personnel. Should they then decide to enter their pet into the study, they will be asked to sign the consent form (this process is termed Informed Consent).

Most studies require several visits to Cummings Veterinary Medical Center, although some are relatively simple and only one visit is required. In certain instances, your patient may need to stay overnight in the hospital for treatment or monitoring associated with the study. At all times during any clinical study, the health and well-being of your patient are monitored very closely by the study team.

Referring Your Client

If you believe you have a patient who is eligible for a specific clinical trial study or you would like additional information from the Clinical Trials Office, complete a referring veterinarian questionnaire.

If you have questions, please call 508-887-4441 or email us.