Clinical Trials in Canada

New treatments are tested in clinical trials before they are approved for general use. There are safeguards in place to ensure clinical trials are as safe as possible and meet medical ethical standards. Participating in a trial can be a way to have access to potentially helpful new therapies you couldn’t get any other way.

Clinical trials are funded by pharmaceuticals evaluating their new treatments. Therefore, the treatments, tests, and doctor visits are usually paid for and patients are followed very carefully. Clinical trials usually have very specific criteria for the patients who can participate, such as severity or stage of disease and whether and what types of previous treatments you have had.

If you are found to be eligible, most studies will not allow you to choose whether you will be put into the group of patients given the existing standard treatment or the group receiving the new medicine. Often, neither you nor your doctor will be told which treatment you are receiving.

This randomization of what you are assigned to, and blinding of you and your doctor to the treatment you are getting, is an important part of ensuring clinical trials are as free from bias as possible and therefore, ensures the results are as clear as possible.

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, ask your doctor if there are any appropriate studies available to you.

Finding clinical trials

You can find out about trials for melanoma or other skin cancers from the following website:

It’s operated by the United States National Institutes of Health which keeps track of studies being conducted for all types of diseases around the world. Search for trials for your specific cancer and location to see what studies might be open to you, then discuss them with your doctor.

Health Canada operates a similar database for Canadian studies, accessible here:

Also find information on any indication at:

Some of your questions about clinical trials may be answered by PRE-ACT (Preparatory Education About Clinical Trials), a resource created by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. While PRE-ACT does provide a comprehensive guide to the clinical trial system, be aware that these videos were created for an American audience, and some of the information in them may not be applicable to Canadian patients.

Click here to view our collaboration with Clinical Trials Ontario, or to find trials go to their Trial Finder

A user-friendly platform to allow patients and caregivers to easily search for new, open, upcoming, or past clinical trials for BMS products in any health indication, including melanoma.

Interactive map searching tool to find enrolling clinical trials in Canada for any health indication, including melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

ForPatients includes a search tool for finding clinical trials in various cancer indications, plus other medical conditions such as autoimmune or neurodegenerative disorders.  It contains detailed information about clinical trials in general, discusses patients’ rights in and after a clinical trial, and points out where to find published results of any given Roche trials.

More information about Clinical Trials in Canada

Clinical Trials: What Patients Need to Know

Save Your Skin Foundation Webinar

  February 9, 2017

With Dr. Natasha Kekre, Associate Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

This webinar informs patients about clinical trials: where to find information about them, what their purpose is, how they work, who is eligible, and why one should participate.  This webinar discusses the important position clinical trials hold in the treatment of cancers and other illnesses and provide the patient with information regarding the process of finding and participating in clinical trials, their eligibility for clinical trials, and any other questions they might have.

Missed the webinar? Listen to a recording of the presentation here

Navigating Clinical Trials and Melanoma Treatment Pathways in Canada

Save Your Skin Foundation Webinar

  August 9, 2018

With three Oncologists from across Canada, discussing the current landscape of clinical trials in melanoma skin cancer.

Missed the webinar? Listen to a recording of the presentation here

More Resources:

Patients may wish to consider taking part in a clinical trial when they are offered treatment for their cancer. All new treatments must be tested in a clinical trial before they are approved by Health Canada. This site was created by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and its partners to help you learn about clinical trials for cancer.

Health Canada, through its Clinical Trials Database, is providing to the public a listing of specific information relating to phase I, II and III clinical trials in patients. The database is managed by Health Canada and provides a source of information about Canadian clinical trials involving human pharmaceutical and biological drugs.

Clinical trials are essential for moving new methods of preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer from the laboratory to physicians’ offices and other clinical settings. NCI has a broad array of programs that support clinical research, including programs that facilitate the development of new interventions, from the initial creation of candidate drugs in the lab to final testing in late-stage clinical trials.

For more information on what to do after a melanoma diagnosis, visit After Diagnosis.

Listed above are a few sources of information and support you might find useful. These groups are not connected to Save Your Skin Foundation. We are providing the links as useful sources of information but do not monitor content for accuracy and quality.

NOTE: The information on the Save Your Skin website is not intended to replace the medical advice of a doctor or healthcare provider. While we make every effort to ensure that the information on our site is as current as possible, please note that information and statistics are subject to change as new research and studies are published. 

Making awareness and education available is crucial. Since 2006, the Foundation has worked to raise awareness of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers focusing on education, prevention and the need for improved patient care.