Clinical trials are extremely important scientific studies needed and required to assess new medical treatments, including treatments for diseases like Mesothelioma. This article explores the reasons why clinical trials are necessary, what exactly they are, and how people with Mesothelioma can benefit from clinical trials.
Improved Mesothelioma Survival Rates
According to the American Cancer Society, improving treatment options through research and development of therapies via clinical trials can have a major impact on improving patients’ chances of surviving mesothelioma. Based on the National Cancer Institute’s SEER program data, the relative 5-year survival rate for mesothelioma is between 5% and 10%, though people diagnosed at a younger age tend to survive longer. Survival also depends on the stage of the mesothelioma: those diagnosed with stage 1 have a median survival of 21 months; stage 2, 19 months; stage 3, 16 months; and stage 4, 12 months.
Continued Need for New Treatments
Despite recent successes in treatment advances, malignant mesothelioma remains a deadly cancers in the US, and continues to be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “During 1999–2005, a total of 18,068 malignant mesothelioma deaths were reported in the United States; 14,591 (80.8%) occurred among males and 17,180 (95.1%) among whites.”
These statistics bear out the continued need for improved therapeutics, which can only be developed, tested, and approved after rigorous clinical trials. Mesothelioma patients are needed to help advance research and the development of new treatments.
Clinical Trials for Mesothelioma Explained
Clinical trials are well-designed studies that collect information about potential treatments for diseases and disorders. Most of the time this means medications, but clinical trials can also test other things, such as stem cell therapies, surgical techniques, tests for diagnosis, or medical devices. In particular, clinical trials focus on administering an experimental therapy in humans, as opposed to animals. Animal testing — or the testing on cells in a dish (in vitro) — is conducted first in the lab and is typically referred to as pre-clinical research, or research occurring before a clinical trial involving patients begins.
Clinical Trials are Required for the Approval of New Treatments
What exactly is it that makes a clinical trial so necessary? Can’t doctors just start using a medication based on any study that shows it is effective? The answer to this is, of course, no. Clinical trials are necessary for medical treatments to be approved by government regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Without carefully designed and performed clinical trials, doctors and other healthcare providers (such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants) cannot prescribe medications or recommend other medical treatments. These studies are needed to understand two important types of information: 1) that the treatment is effective (also called efficacious), i.e., that it really works, and 2) that the treatment is safe for use in humans.
Clinical Trials Advance Scientific Knowledge, Assure Efficacy & Safety
In addition to helping patients by making the best possible treatments available, clinical trials also advance scientific understanding of a disease or disorder.
It is important to make sure that a new drug is more effective than existing treatments, actually works in a disease, and that it is safe. Decisions to give drugs or other medical treatments have to come from scientific data, not just the opinion of a healthcare provider, patient, or other individual. Clinical trials help to assure all of these things.
Despite successes in the treatment of Mesothelioma, new treatments — and new studies — are needed, and likely will be until a cure is found. Clinical trials are a necessary mechanism that can help advance research, and they are legally required step for new treatments to advance and potentially be approved for use by physicians and their patients.
Note: Mesothelioma Research News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.