Mesothelioma is a devastating malignancy in the lining of the lungs and other internal organs. It affects about 2,500 Americans annually, most of them industrial workers who came in contact with the toxic mineral asbestos 20 to 50 years ago. Because the prognosis is generally poor for mesothelioma there are a number of clinical trials underway to find more effective treatments.
Clinical trials are organized formal studies of a new drug or other treatment protocol in human patients. They can be an important source of hope and help for patients, especially those who may have few proven treatment options. But, in order for clinical trials to be effective, a certain number of mesothelioma patients must be willing to take the chance that the study will either improve their own condition or provide doctors with valuable information that could eventually help future patients.
Different mesothelioma clinical trials are searching for study subjects who meet various criteria. For instance, some clinical trials are recruiting mesothelioma patients who have never been treated, while others are looking for patients who gained no therapeutic benefit from previous treatments. Still others may be looking for patients in a certain age range or whose mesothelioma is in a particular stage.
The NIH currently lists 41 active clinical trials for mesothelioma in the U.S. Among them are:
– A Phase I/II trial of the peptide CBP501 and its potential for enhancing pemetrexed/cisplatin chemotherapy treatment – A pilot study of allogeneic tumor cell vaccine in combination with an oral medication – A Phase II trial of pleurectomy/decortication with intraoperative heated chemotherapy – A Phase II study of the oral medication Milataxel (known as a taxane) – A Phase II study on the effectiveness of following chemotherapy and pleurectomy/decortication surgery with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – A Phase II study of a lung-sparing trimodal approach to mesothelioma – A study on anti-TGF monoclonal antibody treatment (gene therapy) for relapsed malignant pleural mesothelioma – A study on intrapleural gene transfer for pleural mesothelioma
Often, a patient’s physician can assist in finding active clinical trials in their area for which the patient might be eligible. The National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health and a sponsor of many clinical trials, also offers an online step-by-step guide for mesothelioma patients interested in finding and participating in a clinical trial. In addition, Abby Palmer MSW, a clinical consultant with Cancer Monthly has information on the results of many of these newer treatments. Abby may be reached at: 619-261-7922.
National Cancer Institute/NIH Clinical Trials, List of active clinical trials in the U.S