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Mesothelioma Clinical Trials

Coming up with a new medicine or a cure for a disease as rare and aggressive as asbestos cancer is no easy task. It takes a lot of time, experimentation and patient involvement.

Clinical trials are, in effect, the first step to a cure. Asbestos cancer clinical trials are a way to review new medications with the eye on a possible cure. Patients who participate in clinical trials can see benefits in two ways -- they can be on the cutting edge of new treatments or therapies, and they can help fellow patients for the future of the disease. In the case of asbestos cancer, most clinical trials focus on pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma because they are more common.

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Active vs. Recruiting

Active clinical trials are those that are ongoing and not recruiting or enrolling participants. That means the clinical trial has the maximum allowable participants and is well into study. Some of the active trials ongoing now include a phase II trial that is comparing the drug Tremelimumab to a placebo in pleural and peritoneal asbestos-cancer patients.

When a clinical trial is in the recruiting phase, it is currently seeking participants. The pool of potential candidates is being culled, and the study has not yet begun. Among the several promising asbestos-cancer clinical trials in the recruiting phase is one that will look at using the measles virus to treat pleural mesothelioma.

Phases of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials for new medications or treatments are not something that happen quickly or easily. Before any drug is eligible for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they must go through a four-step process:

  • Phase I - This first-phase trial includes only a small group of patients (up to 80 people) to take the treatment or medication. Researchers then analyze the dosage, safety and interactions.
  • Phase II - This utilizes up to 300 people to review the drug or treatment’s overall safety and effectiveness.
  • Phase III - Using up to 3,000 people, this is aimed at confirming the efficacy and interactions. It is also compared for effectiveness to treatments already on the market.
  • Phase IV - This trial is used on the general population after a drug is released to the public. This is only used in certain circumstances.

In the case of asbestos-cancer drug and treatment trials, the overall amount of patients in each phase is usually much lower, especially in phase III. This is because asbestos cancer is such a rare disease.

Benefits and Advantages

Clinical trials allow patients to try new medications before anyone else. Participating in a clinical trial does not stop patients from getting the medical care they need. Even after patients start a clinical trial, they are free to leave the study for any reason.

How to Qualify?

Every clinical trial has a set of guidelines to determine a patient’s eligibility to participate. These are called exclusion and inclusion criteria. Exclusion criteria are those that eliminate a patient from being involved. Inclusion criteria are elements that allow patients to participate. There are several factors that are used for exclusion and inclusion:

  • Stage and type of cancer
  • Patient’s age
  • Overall health of patient and health history
  • Age and gender of patient

The first stop for finding out about clinical trials is to contact your doctor. Your medical specialist can help you review the options available for asbestos-cancer patients and choose one that is best for you.


Clinicaltrials.gov. Learn About Clinical Studies. Retrieved from http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/info/understand#Q19

National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. “Combining Immunotoxin and Chemotherapy for Pleural Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/featured/trials/nci-08-c-0026.