Clinical Trials

A clinical trial is a way to evaluate a new drug or treatment and cancer clinical trials are conducted to answer questions about treating cancer, diagnosing cancer, preventing cancer or managing symptoms of cancer or effects of treatment. Penn State Cancer Institute has a long history of excellence in conducting clinical research and clinical trials. Through clinical trials, we have helped to advance the treatment of a number of cancers. We take great care to insure the scientific integrity and ethical conduct of trials.

This web site provides general information on clinical trials, and it provides links to active clinical trials at our Cancer Institute.  It also includes a section of helpful information for our investigators.  We provide information about support available through Penn State Cancer Institute Clinical Trials Office and we provide templates for protocol development.  Additionally, links for submission forms for the Scientific Review Committee and the Data and Safety Monitoring Board are available within this web site.  We hope you find our web site useful. 

More Information

Volunteers Needed - Genetic, Dietary and Environmental Influences on Vitamin D Metabolism

Robin Taylor Wilson, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Associate Professor, Penn State Cancer Institute

Studies by our lab and others consistently report that serum vitamin D levels are significantly lower among individuals with African American ancestry, controlling for age and other health status indicators.  We have also found significant differences in the ratio of 25(OH)D3 and its breakdown product 24,25(OH)2D3 by racial/ethnic group and genetic ancestry, suggesting a slower catabolic rate for vitamin D among African Americans and individuals with West African genetic ancestry.  Such differences appear to be consistent with higher bone mineral density and 3-fold lower incidence of fracture among older African Americans.  Taken together, this suggests that the definition of a healthy range of vitamin D may be dependent on one's genetic background.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether there are different rates of vitamin D metabolism according to genetic ancestry, and genetic differences in vitamin D metabolizing enzymes, the vitamin D receptor, vitamin D binding protein, and vitamin D response elements known to influence expression of vitamin D metabolizing enzymes.

Assessment of the temporal changes in vitamin D metabolism according to genetic background has not yet been conducted.  Understanding genetic differences in vitamin D metabolism will be key to defining sufficient levels of vitamin D, assessing cancer risk in future studies, and avoiding adverse effects. Click here to access the screening questionnaire.

Healthy African American and European American participants ages 18 to 30 are being sought from Penn State campuses in Harrisburg, Hershey and University Park. Please click here to contact Phyllis Martin, Nurse Coordinator, with questions about participating, or email her at