Clinical Trials

Each and every day, researchers, doctors and scientists work to find new treatments or medications to tackle tough-to-beat cancers like mesothelioma. While they are hopeful that all of their discoveries will be successful, it is necessary to rigorously test any new medications or treatments to determine whether or not they will be appropriate for use by the general public. This is done by means of a clinical trial. A clinical trial recruits patients who are willing to test these new treatments to determine whether they will make it to the market, potentially providing help for millions in the future.

Clinical Trial Stages

Clinical trials are divided into three stages:

  • Phase I – This phase of a clinical trial focuses on correct dosage and relative safety of the drug or treatment in question and employs just a small number of participants.
  • Phase II – This longer phase is tested against the particular illness for which is intended. More people are enrolled in Phase II than in Phase I.
  • Phase III – When a drug or treatment reaches Phase III, it is tested against existing treatments for the disease in question. (i.e. “Does X work better than Y in treating mesothelioma?”) Phase III employs the largest number of participants.

Who Qualifies to Participate?

Not everyone qualifies for every clinical trial, even if they have the disease for which the drug is being tested. Trial coordinators will provide doctors with a list of guidelines and qualifications and the patient must match these qualifications to the satisfaction of the trial coordinators in order to be included. For example, some mesothelioma drug trials demand that the patient has not been previously treated with other chemotherapy drugs or has not had surgery, such as a pneumonectomy.

A well-informed oncologist who specializes in mesothelioma is always on the lookout for clinical trials that may benefit his/her patients and can submit the patient for consideration. The patient, however, will need to evaluate his/her participation based on a number of factors, including the number of doctor or hospital visits required, especially if the trial is being conducted at a location not close to home.

If you would like to learn more about clinical trials and available treatment options for mesothelioma, please fill out the form on this page to receive a comprehensive packet in the mail.

What to Expect

All clinical trials are different, but many require the patient to surrender control over their treatment. For example, patients who participate in Phase III studies, which pit one drug against another, may receive either the traditional drug or the new drug and will not know which one they are receiving. There is never a guarantee that the participant will receive the experimental treatment.

However, the clinical trial participant is well tended, watched very carefully, and will be tested frequently to determine the efficacy of the treatment they are receiving. Doctors are consistently on the lookout for any adverse affects as well as any positive outcomes.

Most patients who participate in clinical trials agree that their participation has been positive, even if their prognosis does not change. Furthermore, many understand and appreciate that they are providing a service to others who are battling the same disease, perhaps giving those other individuals more hope for the future.