Although there is still no known cure for mesothelioma cancer, there are a number of clinical trials currently underway to study and test new treatments and procedures in the fight against cancer. Clinical trials are research studies in which volunteers help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat various diseases. Every clinical trial is divided into a series of steps or phases, which allows researchers to ask and answer questions in a manner that provides reliable data about a procedure or drug. The three phases include:
Clinical Trial Phases for Mesothelioma Patients
- Phase I –New procedures and drugs are tested in a small number of people to see how they should be administered.
- Phase II – This phase provides preliminary data about whether or not a new procedure or drug works and gives information about safety and benefits.
- Phase III – This phase compares promising new procedures and drugs with current traditional treatments.
There are different methods of testing new drugs and procedures depending on the clinical trial. A randomized trial assigns participants to the investigational or control arm of clinical trials using computer programs or random number tables to ensure each group is comparable in terms of factors such as age and gender. In an effort to further remove any biases, randomized trials are often “blinded.” A single-blinded trial occurs when participants don’t know which group they are in until the study is concluded. In a double-blinded trial, neither the participants nor the researchers know which group the participants have been assigned to until the end of the study.
Benefits and Risks of Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
In order for study results to be more reliable, participants who wish to join a clinical trial must be eligible according to the trial criteria. Eligibility for mesothelioma clinical trials often involve age, stage of the disease, date of last treatment, and more.
There are both benefits and risks when participating in a clinical trial. Benefits may include:
- access to new drugs before they are available to the public,
- receiving health care by leading physicians in the field of mesothelioma research,
- an opportunity to contribute to cancer research.
Risks involve unknown adverse side effects, being exposed to ineffective treatments, and more.
Mesothelioma Cancer Clinical Trials with Drugs
Currently there are numerous clinical trials testing new procedures and drug treatments for mesothelioma cancer including, but not limited to:
- Phase II study of Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EEP) with Intraoperative Inrathoracic/Intraperitoneal Heated Cisplatin with Sodium Thiosulfate – Involves using EEP to surgically remove the cancer and to contain the spread of the disease with chemotherapy in the operating room
- Phase I Study of Cetuximab in combination with Tarceva in Patients with solid tumors – Purpose of this study is to find a safe and effective dosage of the combination of two drugs to treat mesothelioma.
- Phase II Study of AZD2171 in patients with unresectable malignant mesothelioma – Tests the drug AZD2171 to determine complete and partial response rate of patients with unresectable mesothelioma.