Mesothelioma:

Clinical Trials

Mesothelioma clinical trials are conducted to discover more effective treatment methods for mesothelioma. Drugs are rigorously tested before the reach the stage of clinical trials, where they are tested on human volunteers. The goal of mesothelioma clinical trials is to determine if a particular drug is 1) safe, 2) effective, 3) how it is best administered, 4) and what the most effective dosage is. All side effects of the drug are also noted.

Patients interested in joining a clinical trial for mesothelioma should speak with their doctor before making a decision. Before agreeing to a clinical trial, it is important to ask questions including:

  • What is this specific treatment?
  • What makes this method different?
  • Are there any side effects to this treatment?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • Will I have to be hospitalized?
  • Will this cost anything for me?

There are several types of mesothelioma clinical trials. It is important that patients understand the risks and benefits of partaking in these trials. In mesothelioma cases where alternate treatments have offered little help, clinical trials can offer hope for a serious disease such as mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma clinical trials are divided into three different phases:

Phase I: This is the first step in testing a new treatment method. Because side effects of this new method are unknown, the trial group will be small, usually 20 to 80 participants. During Phase I mesothelioma trials, the safety, dosage and side effects of the drug will be evaluated.

Phase II: After Phase I establishes the safety of the drug or treatment, it can be introduced to a larger group to determine its effectiveness. Usually employing up to 300 participants, Phase II trials evaluate both the drug's efficacy and safety.

Phase III: These clinical trials are the last step before the drug can be approved. Phase III trials usually involve 1000 to 3000 participants to help the researcher gather a larger database of information for this new treatment or drug. Mesothelioma clinical trials in this phase aim to confirm the treatment's effectiveness. To do this, these trials will usually compare it to an already established mesothelioma treatment method.

Phase IV: These trials are post-marketing studies that collect information on how the approved treatment works against other illnesses and how to use the drug to its fullest benefit.

Every clinical trial has certain requirements for its participants. However, just because you are not qualified for one trial does not mean there are no other clinical trials for you. Speak with your doctor to see which clinical trial may be right for you. You can also learn more about mesothelioma clinical trials by calling the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER.

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