Ask the Doctor: Jacob Thomas, M.D.

Q. What is unique about the cancer research program at Hoag?

A. Hoag Family Cancer Institute is Orange County’s leading provider of cancer care. To further expand specialized care for patients, the Institute formed an alliance with USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center to offer access to early development research and cancer trials. This brings some of the newest cancer therapies to our community, allowing patients to remain at Hoag for comprehensive care.

Early development clinical trials examine treatments that have shown promise in laboratory testing but have not yet been proven in patients. The objectives of these trials include determining the optimal dose of treatments, identifying side effects, and evaluating anti-cancer effects. These trials may be available for patients that have not yet started treatment for advanced cancer in addition to patients that have had many treatments.

Thanks to donor support, Hoag offers early development trials for all solid tumor cancers, with new trials becoming available continuously. Patients enrolled in these trials will be guided by a dedicated cancer research team and led by medical oncologists who are specialized in clinical trials. These medical oncologists and cancer research team members will remain in close communication with the referring physician, to ensure close collaboration on the patient's care and well-being.

Enrolling in a clinical trial is a decision you should make with your medical oncologist. If you are considering this as a treatment option, I encourage you to discuss your treatment options with your physician prior to contacting Hoag to determine if a trial is available for you.

To view a full list of cancer clinical trials, please visit

Jacob Thomas, M.D., is a medical oncologist with Hoag's Clinical Trials Program.