Updated on: Aug 30, 2022

Research and Clinical Trials

Research can help to fight against cancer. Grand River Hospital has a Innovation & Research (opens in new window) department that helps to plan and organize research for cancer patients. Cancer research is one of their goals for 2019-2024.

The Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program has a clinical trials department at our regional site - Grand River Regional Cancer Centre. Oncology clinical trials are also ran at our partner site, Cambridge Memorial Hospital. They work with universities, government and private agencies to plan and run clinical trials to help to make cancer care better.

What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a kind of research study that tests how well a medical treatment works in people. Researchers use clinical trials to test medicines, vaccines, medical devices, and other types of treatments. Clinical trials might test a new kind of treatment to see if it works and if it’s safe, or they might compare a new treatment with an older one. For example, researchers might do a clinical trial to find out if a new medicine prevents acid reflux — or if a new cancer treatment works better than an existing one.

All new trials are looked at closely by the clinical trials department before they are offered to you. Research into new types of cancer treatment often take many years to make sure they work and are safe.

Often, patients that are going through cancer care or treatment will be asked if they would like to join a clinical trial. Your oncologist (cancer doctor) or oncology nurse might ask you during an appointment or visit.

Clinical trials:

  • Have set rules about who can join
  • Give you the chance to have more options for treatment
  • Give you access to treatments that are not always available yet

The clinical trials department will work closely with your oncologist (cancer doctor) while you go through a trial.

Searching for a Clinical Trial

There are two key websites for you to search for clinical trials. These websites only include studies that have been registered with them.

Please note that there are trials being run at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre and Cambridge Memorial Hospital that may not be added to these websites. You should always ask your oncologist if there are trials or studies available to you.

Database of clinical trials from around the world - clinicaltrials.gov
Canadian Clinical Trials - canadiancancertrials.ca

Joining a Clinical Trial

If you or your health care team thinks that a clinical trial might be right for you the next steps are:

  • You will be referred to the clinical trials team. They will contact you to book an appointment
  • Someone from the clinical trials team will meet with you to go over all of the information about the study.
  • You will have to provide "informed consent"
  • Once you agree to join the clinical trials team will give you more specific information about next steps

Informed Consent

Informed consent for a clinical trial involves:

  • discussing
  • reading
  • understanding

information about the clinical trial and what it might mean for you. Your clinical trials team will be able to answer any questions you might have as you learn more about the clinical trial.

You must sign an informed consent form in order to participate in trial.

A person who is thinking about being part of a clinical trial is called a potential research subject. If a person decides to be part in a clinical trial, this is referred to as enrolling or enrollment in the study. As a potential research subject, you must be given an opportunity to read the consent document fully, and to ask questions about anything you do not understand.

By signing the informed consent form, you indicate that you understand all of the information you have been given. You can change your mind at any time for any reason.

Contact Information

General Questions519-749-4300 extension 2876

- For general inquiries about the office of innovation and research
Your oncologist- Call and leave a message through the call centre 519-749-4380
- Talk to your oncologist during an appointment
- Find out if you would qualify for a research study or clinical trial
- Expert advice on how joining a clinical trial can impact your care
- Ask for referral to other research studies outside of Waterloo Wellington Region
Grand River Hospital

Carla Girolametto
Director, Innovation and Research and Clinical Trials


519-749-4300 extension 2307
- Questions about clinical trials being ran at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre
- Questions that your oncologist has not been able to answer
Grand River Hospital

Sarah Laferriere,
Clinical Manager
Research and Clinical Trials

519-749-4300 extension 2876
- Questions about clinical trials being ran at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre
- Questions that your oncologist has not been able to answer
Cambridge Memorial Hospital

Amanda Taylor
Clinical Trial Research Nurse

519-621-2333 ext 2594 Email:

Monday – Thursday 7:30am-3:30pm
- Questions about clinical trials being ran at Cambridge Memorial Hospital