If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you may think that clinical trials are only for those who have already undergone multiple traditional treatment approaches that have failed.
However, according to researchers at some of the nation’s top-rated cancer centers, that’s not the case at all. Patients are welcome to clinical trials at all stages of their disease, and those who have just been diagnosed are much needed by those testing immunotherapy and other novel treatment approaches.
This is particularly true for a condition like mesothelioma, which is so rare that it makes clinical research participants that much more valuable.
If you’re a mesothelioma patient and you’re interested in clinical trials, you should mention it to your physician immediately, as there’s a good chance that as specialists in the rare form of cancer, they are constantly being notified of various tests that are underway or recruiting patients.
You can also find trials for yourself on the websites of your cancer treatment center, though those offerings may be limited. For the largest number of studies for which you may be eligible, your best bet is to visit the site operated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which have over 50,000 cancer studies going on at any one time.
Only a small percentage of those trials are specific to mesothelioma, but the search tools on their site, ClinicalTrials.gov, is easy to navigate. Alternatively, you can visit the National Cancer Institute’s web page of call their toll free number, 888-624-1937, where you can speak directly to a referral coordinator who can help you find a variety of programs to which you can apply.
Finally, if you are specifically interested in immunotherapy trials, which have been providing remarkable results, try contacting the Cancer Research Institute either through its website or at 855-216-0127.
According to Dr. Steven A .Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute, there is no reason for patients to wait for their physicians to refer them to the programs. He reports that more and more people are taking initiative on their own.
“Fifteen years ago, more than 90 percent of our referrals came from doctors. Now I would estimate that at least half of all our referrals come from patients themselves, who read about us on the internet and other places.”
If you’d like information on available clinical trials or other resources available to you, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can also provide you with direction. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.