Clinical Trials are Critical Step in Finding New Treatment for Mesothelioma
According to the National Institutes of Health, clinical trials are at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials serve to uncover better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose and understand human disease. They provide mesothelioma researchers with critical information needed to allow them to move their findings from the lab to patients.
Mesothelioma is an incurable, highly aggressive asbestos-caused cancer that is resistant to many cancer treatments. But the effort to find a cure or an effective treatment for the disease is being fought internationally, and clinical trials are offered throughout the world. Clinical trials managed through Clinicaltrials.gov, the national registry of clinical trials information for both federally and privately funded trials, are conducted in all 50 States and in 182 countries. Currently, there are over 50 open studies for malignant mesothelioma being conducted worldwide. Trial sites include the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, Israel, Germany and Italy.
However, not enough patients enter trials. In one study, less than 5% of the over 10 million adults with cancer in the United States participate in clinical trials. Unfortunately, according to the NIH, low volunteer participation in these trials cause critical medical advances to slow or to stall all together. The two primary reasons include lack of awareness of studies and mistrust of the research. Education of the clinical trial process is one way to allay the publics’ fears and to expand participation in the trial process.
US clinical trials are closely monitored and are run according to strict guidelines. The NIH explains that federally funded clinical research has safeguards in place to protect the participants. Deciding whether to enter into a clinical trial is a patient’s personal choice, and the benefits and risks should be carefully weighed.
If you are suffering from mesothelioma, check with your physician to determine if any current studies exist for your particular case. Mesothelioma patients that participate in clinical trials not only help the medical community in general, but they can realize many benefits for their specific medical needs.
Read Friday’s upcoming blog for Don Smitley’s personal experience of participating in a mesothelioma clinical trial offered through Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.