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Are Clinical Trials Leaving Out Mesothelioma Patients?

Clinical trials help mesothelioma patients obtain access to novel treatments that could extend their life expectancy. Treatment for mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, can vary depending on the stage of the disease when diagnosed. New treatments could be the key to survival for many mesothelioma patients, but only if they can access them. A recent study in Australia suggests that the criteria for trial eligibility needs to be broadened to reach the right patients.


Mesothelioma infects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, and it can take many years after the initial asbestos exposure for symptoms to appear. First-line treatment for mesothelioma typically includes chemotherapy, either on its own or in conjunction with other therapies. Patients who are diagnosed in earlier stages may be able to receive surgery to remove the tumors and, in some cases, the lung, pleura, and other surrounding tissues. Radiation cannot eradicate mesothelioma on its own, but it can help shrink tumors and manage chest pain, and it can be used to prevent a recurrence after surgery. Patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma are urged to contact an experienced asbestos lawyer for assistance in pursing all legal remedies to hold those responsible accountable.


Who Participates in Clinical Trials?


Clinical trials can take multiple forms. Many current trials are testing new methods of mesothelioma treatment, which include multiple immunotherapies, gene therapy, photodynamic therapy, and other novel treatments. Patients may also participate in screening trials, which aim to improve how mesothelioma is diagnosed; or prevention trials, which test methods of reducing the risk of cancer. Trials go through multiple phases and can take several years before new treatments or methods are approved for widespread use. Mesothelioma patients in stage three or four may be eligible for clinical trials, but they must meet other eligibility requirements, including age, comorbidity, other medications, and level of function.


Researchers at the University of Sydney Medical School and the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Department of Medical Oncology studied 133 patients with unresectable, or inoperable, malignant pleural mesothelioma. In comparing details of these patients with the eligibility criteria for two large-scale international immunotherapy studies, they found that a high percentage of patients would have been excluded.


Excluding patients can skew a trial group, researchers concluded, and does not properly represent the population of people suffering from mesothelioma. Because of its long latency period, most mesothelioma patients are over the age of 65, and the studies excluded patients over the age of 75. Other eligibility criteria can also be impacted by age, and not all patients who are eligible for a clinical trial choose to participate, narrowing trial groups even further. Authors of the study recommended broadening eligibility criteria for future trials to accurately measure both the efficacy and the potential toxicity of new treatments in all mesothelioma patients.


Pennsauken Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Mesothelioma Patients


If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call the Pennsauken mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law. We have successfully represented mesothelioma patients and their families in all types of asbestos exposure cases. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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