If you are suffering from mesothelioma, clinical trials may offer you the opportunity to participate in new and promising treatment methods, as well as contribute to groundbreaking research that could benefit thousands of future victims. Clinical trials are ongoing—in 2012 alone, a total of 72 trials were completed across the U.S. To get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about joining one of the current or future mesothelioma treatment clinical trials, continue reading below.
What is a mesothelioma clinical trial and how can it help me?
Medical science research that involves human subjects is called a clinical trial. The purpose of a clinical trial is to learn about a medical condition or illness—what causes it, as well as how to diagnose, treat and cure it. Because there is no known cure for malignant mesothelioma as of yet, continuous research is being conducted to test the effectiveness of unique and various methods of treatment.
Depending on the success of these experimental methods, they could potentially offer the best opportunity for recovery from, or at least improved management of, this rare and devastating form of cancer.
During a clinical trial, participants are administered investigational drugs or other curative techniques and closely monitored for changes in their condition and any possible side effects. Once a course of treatment has been concluded, participants are generally followed for a certain amount of time to continue observation of their progress—or lack thereof.
What are the different types of mesothelioma clinical trials?
Clinical trials have four phases. Phase One trials introduce a new form of treatment and seek to evaluate dosing standards and safety of usage. Phase Two trials evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. Phase Three trials compare and contrast the new treatment with currently used treatments. And Phase Four trials look to obtain information about the treatment’s long-term effects and effectiveness – generally after the treatment has been approved for public use by the Food and Drug Administration.
How large are clinical trials for mesothelioma?
The number of participants per trial will vary, but typically, the size of the trial will expand as treatment progresses through the four phases. Phase One trials are relatively small—usually less than a hundred participants and sometimes as few as twenty. Phase Two trials generally employ the involvement of more than one hundred participants but rarely exceed three hundred or so. The final phases of a trial treatment are much larger in scale, averaging two or three thousand.
What are the risks of participating in a mesothelioma clinical trial?
It is difficult to say what risks could potentially be involved in the use of any experimental drug or other mesothelioma treatment. Because side effects in humans are relatively unknown prior to Phase One of a study, it’s important to weigh the possible pros and cons with a physician before deciding to participate. The later phases of a trial are generally considered to be less risky than the first.