January 17, 2013 – Clinical trials are crucial in developing cutting edge treatments and therapies for cancer sufferers. They can be a “lifeline” to victims of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer with no known cure. Clinical trial participants have access to advanced treatments that are not yet available to the general public. Moreover, mesothelioma patients who participate in clinical trials help researchers gather important information as they work to improve cancer healthcare and pursue a cure. Mesothelioma clinical trials pave the way for ground breaking medicines and treatments that may one day become standard mesothelioma therapies.
It is understandable that newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients may have concerns about participating in a clinical trial. For mesothelioma patients who are not responding to current treatments or have been diagnosed at a late stage, however, a clinical trial may be a valid choice. Participating in a mesothelioma clinical trial is a personal decision and one that should be fully explored and discussed with your doctor.
The Basics of a Mesothelioma Clinical Trial
Overseen by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a mesothelioma clinical trial is typically one of the last stages of the research process before a new drug or cancer therapy is deemed safe for use on patients. Before a new treatment is used in a clinical trial the treatment has been through extensive lab testing to ensure that it can be tolerated and have a measurable effect. New drugs and procedures used in clinical trials are typically done in phases and carefully monitored under controlled conditions.
Phase One of a clinical trial is typically conducted with healthy volunteers and seeks to determine a safe limit of treatment by monitoring the treatment’s most frequent and serious adverse side effects. In Phase Two, the treatment is administered to a group of mesothelioma patients to gather preliminary data on effectiveness. The responses by trial participants to the treatment are compared to other participants who receive other treatments or a placebo. Side effects continue to be monitored. During Phase Three, more groups of mesothelioma patients (typically, larger groups) are given the treatment. Different dosages may be administered and the treatment may be given in conjunction with other known treatments in order to gauge changes in participants’ reactions. Phase Four clinical trials are usually conducted after the FDA approves the treatment for public use and continue to monitor the treatment’s safety and effectiveness.
Weighing the Benefits & Risks in Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
Every mesothelioma patient is different and will react to treatment on a case by case basis. Some patients may experience uncomfortable side effects. These side effects can range from unpleasant to serious to life-threatening. Also, the protocol may require more of the participant’s time and attention than a standard treatment. Participants may need to visit the study site on a regular basis, be subjected to additional tests, be admitted to a hospital and/or required to follow complex dosage requirements. Moreover, the treatment may not be effective and the mesothelioma patient’s condition may worsen while they forego more traditional treatments.
On the other hand, a clinical trial can offer a mesothelioma patient access to cutting-edge treatments that might prolong life expectancy and improve quality of life, or even provide a cure. In addition, mesothelioma patients are introduced to some of the most prominent medical experts in the field of mesothelioma treatment and research, access they may not have prior to the clinical trial. Most importantly, due to the terminal prognosis of mesothelioma cases, participation in a clinical trial may provide a sufferer with hope and dignity in the opportunity to actively fight against the disease and to help others by contributing to research efforts.
For information on current and upcoming mesothelioma clinical trials, visit:
Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
U.S. National Institutes of Health
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law – Information and Support for Mesothelioma Patients & Their Families
If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer or another asbestos-related illness, the mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law in Philadelphia can offer continuous support for you and your family. Representing victims of asbestos exposure for over 30 years, we are committed to assisting mesothelioma victims and their families get the information and care they need. Our team of mesothelioma attorneys maintain offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Pennsauken, New Jersey; however, we are available to meet with your family at a location most convenient to you. We will come to your home if that works best for you. Please contact Shein Law for a free, confidential consultation at 1-877-Sheinlaw (877-743-4652) or contact us online.