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The Importance of Clinical Trials

Many of my clients who are suffering with malignant mesothelioma have shared with me the struggles they face in deciding upon and pursuing treatment options. Although new treatment options are continually being researched, patients are often prescribed conventional treatments which include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.  These treatments may also be prescribed in combination with each other which is known as a multi-modality approach.  Medical researchers and doctors are working hard every day to discover new ways to treat this aggressive cancer.  Their research and findings often lead to the initiation of clinical trials.

Medical Lab Technician

Clinical trials are studies performed with human subjects to test new approaches to treatment.  They may involve testing new drugs or combinations of drugs or new approaches to surgery or radiotherapy. Very importantly, these trials can include procedures to improve the diagnosis of disease and the quality of life of patients.  Clinical trials are imperative in the search for new treatments, and someday a cure, for malignant mesothelioma.  I believe a cure for malignant mesothelioma will ultimately be found as a result of clinical trials. But for patients suffering with malignant mesothelioma, time is of the essence. Unfortunately, it takes time for new therapies to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.  Clinical trials offer the best opportunity for patients to be exposed to new therapies and to assist in the advancement of medical knowledge regarding mesothelioma.

Dr. Giovanni Gaudino, Mesothelioma Researcher, Believes Clinical Trials Are Key

Dr. Giovanni Gaudino is an Italian medical researcher whose work is primarily focused on asbestos and its relationship to the development of mesothelioma.  In addition to his research in Italy, Dr. Gaudino conducts some of his mesothelioma research in the United States at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center.  Last year, I had the pleasure of sitting down to discuss mesothelioma treatment and the hope his research offers.  Dr. Gaudino told me that

“… since this cancer is so aggressive, since the incidence of this cancer is increasing, we have to go fast to find new therapies, effective therapies.  And the only way to do that is to foster as many clinical trials as possible.  I know that clinical trials . . . can be seen as an experiment on humans . . . And for individuals this could be hard to accept . . .  to be part of an experiment.  But at this point, clinical trials, I think, are the best way to try something new to get rid of this disease.”

Which Clinical Trial May Be Right for You

Hospital Laboratory

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the coordinating center for clinical trials for mesothelioma.  The NCI website contains a list of on-going clinical trials.  With nearly 100 clinical trials listed, it can be confusing to decide which trial may be the right one for you.  Your doctor can help you to determine which therapy may be the right fit.  A physician will evaluate you to see if you have the right “markers” for enrollment for a particular clinical trial.  Although clinical trials offer no guarantees that they will work, they offer the possibility for a better quality of life, a longer survival rate, and hope for someday finding a cure for this devastating disease.

Through my work as a mesothelioma lawyer, I have personally seen the benefits that mesothelioma patients can gain from enrolling in clinical trials.  Patients should be encouraged to consider clinical trials as part of their treatment.  My firm and I continue to support the work that researchers, scientists, and doctors are doing to advance treatments for mesothelioma.