Clinical trials are research studies. They ask the questions and are trying to answer scientific questions using the scientific method. One of the goals being, find better ways to diagnose and treat people. Clinical trials are the way that care gets improved, questions get answered and better ways to treat and prevent diseases are explored.
Clinical trials are registered and regulated by the government, industry and scientists themselves. They are modeled on scientific research and have strict guidelines and limitations attached to them. Clinical trials are the final step in a long research process that includes preliminary laboratory research and experiments. There are different types of clinical trials some are focused on treatment, prevention and early detection and screening, diagnostic, quality of life and supportive care.
There are different phases of clinical trials:
- Phase 1 – How does the agent or intervention affect the human body? What dosage is safe?
- Phase 2 – How does the agent or intervention have an effect on the disease?
- Phase 3 – Is the new agent or intervention- or new use of a treatment- better than the standard?
In order to participate in a clinical trial informed consent must be obtained. The participant knows what the study is about , and what the possible risks and benefits to you are. The participant can also withdraw at any time as participation is voluntary. All clinical trials have criteria that they are looking for so stage and type of disease might limit participation.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) pays for a good portion of the thousands of clinical trials going on. NCI is part of the National Institute of Health which is funded by U.S. tax dollars. Currently on www.clinicaltrials.gov lists 169 mesothelioma related clinical trials in various stages, some completed, others enrolling patients. The mesothelioma medical team at your mesothelioma center can help you enroll for the eligible trials.
Only 3-5% of the 10.1 million adults with cancer in the United States participate in cancer clinical trials. NCI is the largest sponsor of cancer clinical trials in the U.S.