What are Mesothelioma Clinical Trials?

A mesothelioma clinical trial is a research study that uses volunteers as human “guinea pigs” to test new treatment options for an illness. These clinical trials can involve a number of innovations, from new types and dosages of medications to new styles of revolutionary therapy options. Doctors monitor the participants for success of the therapies and note any side effects. Enrolling in a clinical trial is a gamble, but the rewards often outweigh the risks.

Many people elect to participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Many want a more direct involvement in the treatment they receive; others want to take a more active role in helping others with their condition, and patients with terminal afflictions such as mesothelioma feel that they do not have anything to lose by trying new treatments. These brave individuals greatly contribute to the understanding of their condition and further medical science’s options for treating mesothelioma.

In the process of mesothelioma clinical trials other discoveries are often made.  They may not be cures, but they are treatments that will help ease pain and extend life for a mesothelioma patient.  Mesothelioma clinical trials are difficult since mesothelioma is not generally detected in patients until the mesothelioma has advanced greatly.  The symptoms of mesothelioma are very similar to other health conditions.  Unless the doctor knows you have been exposed to asbestos, he or she may not be looking for or testing for the disease.

Mesothelioma clinical trials have provided mesothelioma patients with more options for pain management, treatment of side effects, and treatment for the mesothelioma.  If you have an interest in being part of mesothelioma clinical trials, contact your doctor.  In order to be part of a clinical trial, you must be tested first and meet certain requirements.  Your doctor will be able to discuss with you the options you have.  There are different types of mesothelioma clinical trials.  Some clinical trials are conducted in a hospital or cancer center and some can be conducted in your home where you follow strict guidelines.

Clinical trials proceed through segments or phases.

  • Phase I monitors the effectiveness of treatment or drug that attempts to treat the condition. Reactions and side effects are noted, and preliminary evidence is assembled into manageable data.
  • Phase II expands the number of participants to better gauge the occurrence of proper function and side effects.
  • Phase III takes data from the two prior stages and compares it to older or current treatments by assigning treatments to random participants to see which one is the most effective. This stage of testing involves more people and often takes place simultaneously at several different treatment facilities. Depending on the results of phase III testing, a drug or treatment is either approved for general use, discontinued due to negligible effect or dangerous consequences, or sent back for further testing.
  • Phase IV monitors the safety of a drug once it is in common use, and provides further information on side effects and related health concerns.

Many drugs and treatments fail in clinical trials studies, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the side effects found during clinical trials are too drastic, other times not enough people respond to the treatment, or at rare times there may be a legal issue with the rights to produce the drug. Failure rates rarely discourage large pharmaceutical or medical companies, for they know if one treatment fails perhaps the next two will help recover any losses, and any success ultimately saves lives.

Mesothelioma Clinical Trial Reports

Before any new treatment can be recommended for general use, doctors conduct clinical trials to find out whether the treatment is safe for patients and effective against the disease. Participation in clinical trials is an important treatment option for many patients with mesothelioma.  Because mesothelioma is very hard to control and medical experts believe that there could be an epidemic of mesothelioma cases in years to come, clinical trials (research studies with people) are designed to find new treatments and better ways to use current treatments, raising hope for victims of this devastating disease.

Phase III Vorinostat (SAHA) for progressive or relapsed malignant pleural mesothelioma patients

Doctors use the chemotherapy drug vorinostat to kill cancerous cells and stop their division, and they also believe it can block enzymes that cells need in order to grow and multiply.  Studies are currently in the third phase to understand its effects on epithelial, sarcomatous, and recurrent mesothelioma.  Phase III Vorinostat (SAHA) trials for progressive or relapsed malignant pleural mesothelioma patients are currently underway at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA and Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center - NCI Clinical Studies Support, Bethesda, Maryland.

Phase II Pemetrexed Disodium with Gemcitabine or Carboplatin advanced malignant mesothelioma patients

The Phase II Pemetrexed Disodium with Gemcitabine or Carboplatin advanced malignant mesothelioma patients clinical is a study to investigate the effects of chemotherapy drugs pemetrexed disodium, gemcitabine, and carboplatin on advanced and recurrent malignant mesothelioma.  This study is being conducted in several locations across the country including Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Phase II AZD2171 for patients with unresectable malignant mesothelioma

Phase II AZD2171 for patients with unresectable malignant mesothelioma is investigating the use of chemotherapy drugs to inhibit enzymes that slow the growth and block blood flow into the tumor.  It is hoped that the results from this study could help victims suffering from epithelial, sarcomatous, advanced, and recurrent malignant mesothelioma.  Studies are underway in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.


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Mesothelioma Clinical Trials page updated on 6/05/2013