If you were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, or if you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you might be interested in finding out about new clinical trials and the ability to participate. Generally speaking, clinical trials are research tools, but they ultimately may be able to help cancer patients, including mesothelioma patients. Clinical trials are used to test out potential treatments for cancers like mesothelioma, and to provide researchers with real-life information about how patients respond to particular protocols or treatments so that various methods of treating mesothelioma or other cancers can be assessed for their effectiveness as well as for their safety.
When a mesothelioma patient is not responding to traditional treatments, or when new treatments and drugs being researched could be effective in helping to treat your mesothelioma or to help you manage symptoms, you may be particularly interested in getting involved in a clinical trial. It will also be important to have a clear understanding of what is involved in the clinical trial, and whether a specific clinical trial is actually right for you based on your health and other factors. You should keep in mind that it is not entirely up to a patient whether or not to participate in a clinical trial. In order to get involved in a clinical trial, you will need to meet all of the criteria. Then, once you meet the criteria, you will need to decide whether the trial is right for you. How can you ultimately learn about clinical trials and decide if a specific clinical trial is something in which you want to participate? Consider some of the following information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Learning About Clinical Trials
There are many different ways in which you can learn about new or ongoing clinical trials in which you may be eligible to participate. You can speak with your health care providers about clinical trials, and you can contact organizations such as the National Cancer Institute or the Cancer Information Center. Some clinical trials will take place in a particular part of the country, while others may be seeking participants from a range of geographic regions. The National Cancer Institute provides an ongoing list of clinical trials for mesothelioma treatment that is supports, which means that those trials have been sponsored by the NCI or have received financial support from the NCI. The following is a list of some of the current clinical trials for mesothelioma treatment that are ongoing:
- Nivolumab and Ipilimumab in Treating Patients with Rare Tumors;
- DuRvalumab with Chemotherapy as First Line Treatment in Advanced Pleural Mesothelioma;
- Study of HPN536 in patients with Advanced Cancers Associated with Mesothelin Expression;
- Chemotherapy with or without Immunotherapy for Peritoneal Mesothelioma;
- Testing the Addition of Targeted Radiation Therapy to Surgery and the Usual Chemotherapy Treatment (Pemetrexed and Cisplatin [or Carboplatin]) for Stage I-IIIA Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma;
- Phase 1 Study of INBRX-109 in Subjects with Locally Advanced or Metastatic Solid Tumors Including Sarcomas;
- Study of NGM707 as Monotherapy and in Combination with Pembrolizumab in Advanced or Metastatic Solid Tumor Malignancies;
- Nivolumab and Combination Chemotherapy before Surgery for the Treatment of Resectable Pleural Malignant Mesothelioma;
- A Study of SGN-CD228A in Advanced Solid Tumors;
- A Vaccine (Galinpepimut-S) with Nivolumab for the Treatment of patients with WT1-Expressing Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma;
- Testing the Addition of an Anti-cancer Drug, BAY 1895344, to the Usual Chemotherapy Treatment (Cisplatin, or Cisplatin and Gemcitabine) for Advanced Solid Tumors with Emphasis on Urothelial Cancer;
- AO-176 in Multiple Solid Tumor Malignancies;
- Study of ASTX295 in Patients with Solid Tumors with Wild-Type p53;
- Phase 1/2 Trial of Gavo-cel (TC-210) in Patients with Advanced Mesothelin-Expressing Cancer;
- A Study of HFB200301 in Adult Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors;
- Study to Evaluate VT3989 in Patients with Metastatic Solid Tumors Enriched for Tumors with NF2 Gene Mutations;
- A Study of TAK-500 with or without Pembrolizumab in Adults with Select Locally Advanced or Metastatic Solid Tumors;
- A Study of SAR444245 Combined with Other Anticancer Therapies for the Treatment of participants with Lung Cancer or Mesothelioma (Pegathor Lung 202);
- Safety, Tolerability, Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacodynamics of INCB099280 in Participants with Advanced Solid Tumors;
- A Phase I Study of IAG933 in Patients with Advanced Mesothelioma and Other Solid Tumors;
- Nivolumab with or without Ipilimumab before Surgery for the Treatment of Resectable Stage I-III Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma;
- Phase II Nivolumab and Ramucirumab for Patients with Previously-Treated Mesothelioma;
- Safety, Tolerability, Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacodynamics of INCB099318 in Participants with Advanced Solid Tumors;
- Study of SO-C101 and SO-C101 in Combination with Pembro in Adult Patients with Advanced/Metastatic Solid Tumors; and
- Oral TEAD Inhibitor Targeting the Hippo Pathway in Subjects with Advanced Solid Tumors.
These studies listed above range from Phase I to Phase III clinical trials. There are additional clinical trials that are ongoing that you may be able to participate in. For each clinical trial that is ongoing, the National Cancer Institute lists the number of locations where it may be possible to participate in the clinical trial.
Before you decide you want to find out if you are eligible to participate in one of the clinical trials listed above, you should speak with your health care provider to discuss the trial and to ensure that it is still ongoing. You will also need to ensure that you are eligible to participate. Generally speaking, in order to participate in a clinical trial, you will need to meet all of the specifications outlined by the researchers. For example, you will need to have the specific type of mesothelioma and any other particular conditions or circumstances identified by the researchers, and you will also need to be able to show that you are healthy enough to participate in a clinical trial. To prove you are healthy enough to participate in a clinical trial, you will usually need to go through a series of medical tests that will include bloodwork, scans like X-rays or MRIs, and tests designed to assess your heart health.
When you begin looking for a potential clinical trial in which to participate, you should know that more clinical trials may have been approved for mesothelioma treatment than just those listed here. Accordingly, you should always seek help with an up-to-date list of potential clinical trials that you can apply to participate in. You should also know that, even if you are not approved to participate in one particular clinical trial, you should not give up. There are various reasons that certain patients are selected for clinical trials, and you should continue to work with your health care providers and to do your own research to identify and apply to clinical trials that could be right for you based on your medical condition and individual circumstances.
Determining if a Clinical Trial is Right for You and Addressing Your Fears
How can you know if a clinical trial is right for you? Many people fear that clinical trials are unsafe, or that they will not receive the same level of care or respect that a patient would otherwise receive. Indeed, some mesothelioma patients fear that they will be treated like a laboratory animals in a clinical trial, but it is critical to understand that clinical trials are only approved once they have gone through a sufficient number of tests and other assessments
Considerations for Taking Part in a Clinical Trial
There are many different reasons that you might want to participate in a clinical trial. For some mesothelioma patients, no other treatment options have worked, so clinical trials present alternative treatment options. At the same time, participating in a clinical trial can allow you to play a key role in making decisions about your own health care and understanding more about your condition and ways of treating it.
Before you make the decision to participate in a clinical trial—assuming you are eligible—it is important to ask questions to understand what will be involved in the process. You should clarify what type of treatment you will be receiving, how it differs from any previous treatment you have received, and how it could have an effect on past treatments. You should also ask for clear information about possible side effects, and what the protocol is for monitoring participants in the study. You should also find out if you will need to be in the hospital during the clinical trial, or if you will need to remain in the geographic area where the study is taking place. It will also be essential to find out about the cost of participation in the clinical trial, and whether your costs will be covered by the insurance company.
It is important to learn about informed consent and to understand what it means when you give informed consent for a clinical trial. You should obtain all the information you need before you agree to participate in the study. When you sign an informed consent form, you should understand that you are saying you understand what is involved in the clinical trial, including the possible risks as well as benefits, and after learning fully about the clinical trial, you have decided to take part in it.