Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
For mesothelioma patients who hope to advance the opportunity for a disease cure or those who simply are looking for new ways to fight their own disease, taking part in clinical trials are the best way to move experimental treatments into the mainstream.
Today, there is no cure for mesothelioma, but researchers are continuing their work in laboratories worldwide to advance the science. Most clinical trials focus on peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma because they are they two most common types of the cancer. Treatments that began as clinical trials – such as immunotherapy and gene therapy – have already moved into the mainstream, and there’s no reason to think that others aren’t on the horizon.
It’s important to remember that if you decide to participate in a clinical trial, you will always receive treatment, whether it’s the conventional treatment or the experimental treatment that’s the focus of the clinical trial. It’s always your decision to enter or leave the trial.
Phases of Clinical Trials
There are three phases of clinical trials that any new drug or treatment must go through before it can be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These three phases also ensure that patients enrolled in the clinical trials are kept safe and the particular treatment is more effective than the current approach:
- Phase I – Following animal studies and laboratory examinations, this is the first human testing done on a new drug or treatment. This trial begins with a small number of test subjects, typically up to 80.
- Phase II – After closely watching the reactions and interactions of the new treatment during Phase I trials, doctors now add more patients to the study, typically up to 300.
- Phase III – In this phase, the test patients are divided into two groups. One group receives conventional treatment and the other the experimental treatment. The study usually includes thousands of patients.
Finding A Clinical Trial
Finding a clinical trial that is best for you is as simple as searching the Internet:
- National Cancer Institute
- Your physician is the key contact for the best clinical trials in your area.
Qualifying For A Clinical Trial
Most clinical trials have specific criteria that participants must meet before being enrolled. Doctors and researchers have the right to exclude or include certain patients based on several factors:
- Overall physical health
- Stage and type of cancer
- Past treatment
At the same time, patients should be cautious and choosy before jumping into a clinical trial. It’s important to take the time to read all of the study parameters before you sign any consent forms and speak with your physician about the study. There are some questions that you should ask before participating:
- Who is funding this trial and how much do I have to pay?
- What is the history of this treatment and what are the most common side effects?
- How long is this trial and what will happen if I decide to drop out?
- How much traveling will I have to do for treatment and what kind of accommodations will you make for me?
- Is there a long-term follow-up with this study and how can I participate?
- Has this treatment been used before in other clinical trials or studies?
Remember, asking questions does not mean you are trying to undermine anyone’s authority or question anyone’s judgment. You are simply finding out more information to better your chances for a healthy outcome.