Mesothelioma Treatments

Mesothelioma Clinical Trials

A clinical trial is a testing process that all treatment options and medications must go through in order to determine whether they are safe or effective for use. Many patients who have not positively responded to conventional treatments decide to participate in clinical trials with the hope of improving their help or learning more about their condition.

Stages of a Clinical Trial

All medications and treatment options are extensively researched before they become part of the clinical trial process. This incremental approach protects the public from treatments that are considered to be unsafe. There are three phases of a clinical trial:

  • Phase I trials enroll a limited number of people, sometimes as few as only a dozen. They center around determining the best method for administering the drug, the correct dosage of the drug, how often the dosages should be given and relative safety of a particular drug.
  • Phase II trials often enroll more people and are used to determine if the new drug or treatment regime works against a particular type of cancer.
  • Phase III trials are the final phase before a drug is approved for treating a disease. During Phase III, the new drug is compared against the current standard treatment. The goal during Phase III is to prove the new drug is a more effective treatment than what is already available. Phase III trials involve much larger groups of people and are more available to potential participants.

Those who are interested in participating in a clinical trial should consult with their doctor. Patients may also want to contact a regional cancer center that may have additional information on current and future clinical trials available. If you wish to learn more about mesothelioma clinical trials, please complete the request form on this page to receive a free comprehensive packet.

Qualifications for a Clinical Trial

Each clinical trial has its own set of guidelines and not every patient will be able to participate. The researchers need to be able to identify key similarities in the group and may also want to be able to monitor key differences. A study may only want people who have undergone unsuccessful chemotherapy, for example, but also want to track the participant's gender, age and geographic region.

Those thinking about participating in a clinical trial need to be aware of how often participants see the physicians coordinating the trials and how long each visit will take. The cost of the medication and treatment is generally paid for by the research organization, but travel costs and related expenses are often paid for by the patient.

The benefits of participating in a clinical trial include being treated by the top doctors in the field and potential access to new drugs. There is also the satisfaction of being part of the team that may revolutionize treatment of a particular disease. Before a patient agrees to participate in a study, there are a number of questions the patient should ask. The following includes some questions suggested by the National Cancer Institute:

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • Why do researchers think the approach may be effective?
  • Who has reviewed and approved the study?
  • How long will the study last?
  • What will my responsibilities be if I participate?
  • What are my possible short-term benefits?
  • What are my possible long-term benefits?
  • What are the short-term risks or side effects?
  • What are the possible long-term risks or side effects?
  • What kind of therapies, procedures and /or tests will I have during the trial?
  • Will I be able to take my regular medications while in the clinical trial?
  • Where will I have my medical care?
  • Who will be in charge of my care?
  • Can I talk to other people in the study?
  • Will I have to pay for any part of the trial such as tests or the study drug?
  • What is my health insurance likely to cover?
  • Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company or health plan?
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