Risks of Meso Clinical Trial Participation

Regardless of the phase, all mesothelioma clinical trials entail some risks to the patient.

The primary risk is that the mesothelioma treatment may not work and the patient may continue to get worse. In addition, because trials are offered in limited settings, being in a trial may involve additional time, travel, expense and effort on the part of the patient. Since one of the primary objectives of a clinical trial is to establish the safety of the treatment, it stands to reason that some participants may experience side effects that could range from being uncomfortable to being life-threatening.

When researching and preparing for a clinical trial, some points you may want to consider include:

  • How is the clinical trial treatment different than the standard treatment?
  • Are there any side-effects that are specifically associated to the treatment?
  • What is the length of time of the study, and will hospitalization be required?
  • How much of the trial, including treatment and drugs, will the insurance cover?

Weighing the Risks and the Benefits

Despite the experimental nature of clinical trials, the institutions that offer them are committed to minimizing the above risk as much as possible. The goal, after all, is to find a treatment that will help the patients, not harm them. This process is aided by the requirement that clinical trials must be approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). This is usually composed of researchers, institutional management and community members who evaluate the protocol or study plan for safety. Clinical trials must adhere to the same legal and ethical standards that apply to general medical practices. In addition, most American clinical trials are registered with and regulated by the United States government to ensure consistency and enforcement of standards. Our registry of clinical trials is linked to the National Cancer Institute's list of mesothelioma trials.

To learn more about clinical trials for mesothelioma patients, including risks, benefits, eligibility, and treatment options, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is here to help. For clinical trial referrals, please contact the Mesothelioma Foundation's Medical Liaison:

Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner
(703) 879-3820
Email: mhesdorffer@curemeso.org

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