Here is one example of the kind of progress that can be made with clinical trials: Janet Thompson is still alive.
Breakthrough lung cancer drug helps clinical trial patient at Providence
from The Oregonian
A breakthrough drug for treating the most common type of lung cancer was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration ahead of schedule following two successful clinical trials, including one that involved patients at Providence Cancer Center in Portland.
The trials enrolled patients with advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer, which is incurable. About 40,000 people will get that diagnosis this year in the United States, where lung cancer is the top cancer killer.
Janet Thompson was given six to eight months to live when she was diagnosed about five years ago with stage IV squamous non-small cell lung cancer. She had surgery, underwent radiation and two rounds of chemo but her tumor, lodged in her right lung, continued to grow.