🔬 A Guide to Mesothelioma Clinical Trials in the US
As of 2021, mesothelioma continues to be a rare but deadly cancer that affects thousands of people each year. While traditional treatments like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can be effective, many patients are turning to clinical trials for cutting-edge treatments that could potentially extend their lives.
If you or a loved one is living with mesothelioma, clinical trials could be a viable option. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at mesothelioma clinical trials being conducted in the US, how they work, and what patients can expect if they decide to participate.
🏥 Introduction: Understanding Mesothelioma and Clinical Trials
Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was widely used in construction and manufacturing until the 1970s.
Although mesothelioma is a rare cancer, it is particularly aggressive and difficult to treat. For many patients, traditional treatments like chemotherapy and surgery are not enough to stop the cancer from spreading.
Clinical trials offer an alternative for patients who have exhausted other treatment options. They are research studies designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new treatments, drugs, or procedures. Clinical trials can also help researchers better understand the disease and improve future treatments.
While clinical trials can offer new hope for mesothelioma patients, they are not without risk. Patients who participate may experience side effects, and not all treatments are successful. However, for some patients, clinical trials may offer the best chance at extended survival.
📝 What are the Phases of Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials involve several phases, each with a different purpose. The phases include:
|Phase 1||To determine a safe dosage range and identify side effects|
|Phase 2||To evaluate effectiveness and further assess safety|
|Phase 3||To compare the new treatment with the current standard of care and evaluate safety and effectiveness|
|Phase 4||To continue monitoring safety and effectiveness after the treatment becomes widely available|
💡 How are Clinical Trials Conducted?
Clinical trials are conducted by teams of researchers, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Patients who participate in clinical trials are closely monitored throughout the study, and researchers collect data on their health status and response to treatment.
Before a clinical trial can begin, it must be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and an institutional review board (IRB). The IRB is a panel of experts who review the trial to ensure that it is ethical and safe for participants.
If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. The criteria may include your age, stage of disease, and overall health. Your doctor can help you determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for a particular trial.
🔎 Mesothelioma Clinical Trials in the US
There are several mesothelioma clinical trials currently being conducted in the US. These trials are evaluating new treatments, drugs, and therapies that could potentially improve outcomes for mesothelioma patients.
🧬 Immunotherapy Clinical Trials
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer. Several clinical trials are currently underway to evaluate the effectiveness of immunotherapy for mesothelioma. These trials include:
💉 Nivolumab and Ipilimumab
Nivolumab and ipilimumab are two drugs that stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells. A clinical trial is currently underway to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of these drugs for mesothelioma patients who have already undergone chemotherapy.
Pembrolizumab is an immunotherapy drug that has shown promising results in treating several types of cancer. A clinical trial is currently evaluating the safety and effectiveness of pembrolizumab for mesothelioma patients.
🧪 Gene Therapy Clinical Trials
Gene therapy is a type of treatment that involves changing a patient’s genes to treat or prevent disease. Several clinical trials are currently underway to evaluate the effectiveness of gene therapy for mesothelioma. These trials include:
🧬 Adenovirus Interferon Alpha-2b Gene Therapy
This gene therapy involves injecting a virus that carries the interferon alpha-2b gene directly into the tumor. The virus is designed to replicate and kill cancer cells, while the interferon alpha-2b gene helps the immune system attack the cancer. A clinical trial is currently underway to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of this gene therapy for mesothelioma patients.
TargomiRs are tiny RNA molecules that can turn off genes that promote cancer growth. A clinical trial is currently underway to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of TargomiRs for mesothelioma patients.
🔍 Other Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
Other mesothelioma clinical trials currently being conducted in the US include:
🧪 Surgery Using the Novadaq SPY System
This clinical trial is evaluating the effectiveness of the Novadaq SPY System, which uses fluorescence imaging to improve surgical outcomes for mesothelioma patients.
🧬 Mesothelin-Targeted CAR T-cell Therapy
This gene therapy involves using patient’s own immune cells, called T-cells, to attack mesothelioma cells. The T-cells are modified to recognize and attack mesothelin, a protein found on the surface of mesothelioma cells. A clinical trial is currently evaluating the safety and effectiveness of this therapy for mesothelioma patients.
❓ Frequently Asked Questions About Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
🕰️ How long do clinical trials last?
Clinical trials can last anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the phase of the trial and the treatment being evaluated.
👀 Will I receive the new treatment?
Not all patients who participate in a clinical trial receive the new treatment. Some patients receive a placebo, which is a substance that looks like the treatment but has no therapeutic effect.
💉 Will I experience side effects?
Most patients who participate in clinical trials experience side effects, which can range from mild to severe. Your doctor will discuss the potential side effects with you before you decide to participate in a trial.
💰 Will I have to pay for the treatment?
Most clinical trials are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or research institutions, which cover the cost of the treatment. However, some trials may require patients to pay for certain costs, such as travel or lodging expenses.
📈 What happens after the trial is over?
After the trial is over, researchers analyze the data to determine the safety and effectiveness of the treatment. If the treatment is found to be effective, it may become available to the public.
👩⚕️ How can I find clinical trials for mesothelioma?
You can find mesothelioma clinical trials by visiting clinicaltrials.gov, a database of clinical trials sponsored by the US government. You can also ask your doctor or cancer center for information about trials that may be suitable for you.
👨👩👧👦 Can family members participate in a clinical trial?
Most clinical trials only allow patients to participate. However, family members can provide support and assistance during the trial.
📝 Are clinical trials safe?
Clinical trials are designed to be as safe as possible for participants. Before a clinical trial can begin, it must be approved by the FDA and an IRB. The IRB reviews the trial to ensure that it is ethical and safe for participants.
📊 How many people participate in clinical trials?
The number of people who participate in clinical trials varies depending on the trial. Some trials may involve only a few dozen participants, while others may involve thousands of participants.
🔍 What is a double-blind study?
A double-blind study is a type of clinical trial in which neither the patient nor the researchers know which treatment the patient is receiving. This helps eliminate bias and ensures that the results are as objective as possible.
👩⚖️ Can I sue if I experience side effects from a clinical trial?
In most cases, patients cannot sue if they experience side effects from a clinical trial. However, patients may be eligible for compensation if the side effects were caused by negligence or misconduct on the part of the researchers or sponsor.
💊 Will I have to stop other treatments during the trial?
It depends on the trial. Some trials may require patients to stop other treatments, while others may allow patients to continue with their current treatment.
📈 What are the success rates of clinical trials?
The success rates of clinical trials vary depending on the treatment being evaluated, the phase of the trial, and the population being studied. In general, only a small percentage of treatments that go through clinical trials are ultimately approved for use.
👍 Conclusion: Clinical Trials Offer Hope for Mesothelioma Patients
For mesothelioma patients who have exhausted other treatment options, clinical trials offer a glimmer of hope for extended survival. While not all clinical trials are successful, they can provide valuable insights into the disease and help researchers develop new treatments.
If you or a loved one is living with mesothelioma, talk to your doctor about whether clinical trials could be a viable option. You can also visit clinicaltrials.gov to search for mesothelioma clinical trials being conducted in the US.
Together, we can continue to fight against mesothelioma and work towards a future with better treatment options and outcomes for patients.