Mesothelioma is a rare and severe type of cancer. The treatments available are not effective in treating the disease. This also arises partly from the fact that the disease is not well known. New methods and procedures need to be developed in order to improve the effectiveness of the treatment. Clinical trials are studies directed for the purpose to develop new treatments and to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of these new treatments.
There are basically four phases in a clinical trial and each phase has its goals. The phases are as follows:
Phase 1 - This phase studies the safety and side effects of a new drug. It tries to determine the best way that this new drug is best administered and tries to determine the appropriate dosage. It is important to state that not only new drugs are studied in a clinical trial but treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy and other treatments may also be studied. Before any treatment is tested on humans it should already be tested in the laboratory, usually on animals, but its side effects on humans will not accurately be determined until it is actually tested on them.
Phase 2 - In this phase the treatment's effectiveness to fight mesothelioma will be studied and the treatment's safety will further be evaluated.
Phase 3 - the new treatment is compared to existing treatments in order to study side effects and confirm its effectiveness.
Phase 4 - Information is gathered in order to determine of how an already approved treatment can be used to treat other diseases.
To be eligible for a clinical trial the patient should have certain characteristics. Eligibility depends on the stage of the disease, the age of the individual and many other factors. There are different types of clinical trials and eligibility is not the same for all. There is no guarantee that a clinical trial will produce the desired results. Further more the patient is obviously exposed to certain risks. Therefore it is very important that the patient talks with his physician and is well informed about the advantages and risks involved and the adequacy of clinical trial in his or her particular situation.