Mesothelioma in any stage is challenging to treat because it tends to spread from the mesothelial lining along nearby surfaces, nerves, and blood vessels. This makes it very difficult, except in rare situations, to completely get rid of it with surgery and chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Additional treatment options are being developed over time through the clinical trial process. This article is the first of a three-part series for patients who may be interested in enrolling in a mesothelioma clinical trial.
Deciding whether to enroll in a mesothelioma clinical trial is a serious and personal decision. This blog series will present an overview of information to address some of the basic questions and concerns that might arise. Always discuss your options with your doctor and your support network before making any serious decisions.
Medical research institutions conduct clinical trials when developing new treatment options in medicine. Whether a new medicine works in humans and whether it’s safe are questions that clinical trials are designed to answer. Clinical trials are typically grouped into phases with each phase designed to answer certain questions, while keeping participants as safe as possible.
By the time a new mesothelioma drug treatment makes it to clinical trials, it has at least six years of research behind it. There is a lot of careful work that must go into developing a new medicine including laboratory tests in cells and in animals before it can be tested in humans. Only about one out of every 1,000 potential medicines tested make it to human clinical trials. Once a drug enters clinical trials, it takes an average of eight years to be approved and available for prescription.
Clinical trials are usually carried out in five different phases, 0 through IV. Each phase is designed to answer certain questions. As a mesothelioma patient considering enrollment in a clinical trial, it’s important for you to know the potential benefits and the potential risks of taking part in each phase. The second part of this clinical trials overview blog series will focus on phases 0, I, and II clinical trials.