As an academic center for cancer research as well as cancer treatment, the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center has a long-established clinical trials program to investigate new cancer therapies. Although the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be one of the biggest medical challenges of our time, the cancer center’s vital work, including clinical trials, has continued.

“Conducting clinical trials is the only way we will cure cancer,” stated Karen Kelly, the associate director of clinical research. “There are many great ideas out there — about promising therapies, tools to prevent cancer, how to help survivors — but all of these require clinical trial testing.”

As government agencies mandated closure of business activities deemed “non-essential,” the essential research of the cancer center proceeded with protocols put in place to protect the safety of study participants and health workers. The cancer center maintained momentum by building enrollment in clinical trials already underway as well as starting new trials.

The clinical trials program includes more than 200 clinical trials as well as the novel Sacramento Citywide Oncology Phase I program (SCOPE), an academic-community partnership that encompasses the major hospital systems in the Sacramento region (see the accompanying article for more information).

The cancer center continues to conduct a broad spectrum of Phase I, Phase II and Phase III trials to test the safety and efficacy of newly developed drugs. Research teams changed several clinical trials procedures to ensure patient and staff safety during the pandemic.

“Researchers increased use of telemedicine as a means to maintain close monitoring of clinical trial participants while remaining compliant all the while with federal, state and local COVID-19 safety guidelines,” explained Edward Kim, the new medical director of the cancer center’s Office of Clinical Research.

Learn more about participation in cancer clinical trials

  • Visit
  • For adult cancer clinical trials call 916-734-0565
  • For pediatric cancer clinical trials call 916-734-2780
  • For Phase I clinical trials, call 916-703-5233