(This is a guest blog by Treat Mesothelioma, a non-profit and volunteer organisation working in the USA to advise and guide mesothelioma sufferers and their loved-ones.)
Though a number of treatments are available, there is still no cure for mesothelioma. This is why efforts are still on going, attempting to find a more lasting solution to the cancer. Mesothelioma is a particularly stubborn kind of cancer that exhibits malignancy. It is particularly difficult to diagnose because its symptoms take 20 to 50 years to develop. Even after diagnosis, most treatment methods are generally not very effective on the disease.
Generally, experimental attempts are being carried out with the hope of finding new and better solutions for cancer; these are called cancer trials. When these proposed treatments are tried on patients, they are called clinical trials.
Importance of Clinical Trials
Clinical trials play a very important role in the production of any drug or treatment method. Usually, when developing treatment methods, the treatment is subjected to quite a number of simulations, to be assured for its safety when eventually tested on patients. When these drugs or treatments are pronounced safe, then it goes into clinical testing, although in most cases, it first passes through animal testing phase, before getting that far.
Clinical trials are usually recommended for patients who have tried the conventional mesothelioma treatment options, but have failed to improve. Such patients usually have “nothing to lose,” so they tend to try out the proposed treatments. In some cases, for some really lucky patients, the treatment works a little too well and they begin an accelerated journey to recovery, in fact, some have even been able to recover totally due to these trials. However, the story is not always the same for all patients. Some patients fail to respond to the treatment and show no significant change in their condition, while some even deteriorate in their condition.
So, generally, clinical trials may produce different results from different patients based on a number of factors. Some of such factors include:
1. Type of mesothelioma cell involved:
Generally, there are three different cell types when it comes to mesothelioma. They are the epithelioid, biphasic, and the sarcomatoid cells. Patients with epithelioid mesothelioma are known to respond better to treatments, compared to the other cell types.
2. Stage of mesothelioma:
This is another very important factor. Generally, patients with stage-1 and stage-2 mesothelioma tend to respond better to treatment compared to the more advanced stages. Therefore, clinical trials may show more positive results for patients, which allows them to improve their life expectancy by slowing down the progression of mesothelioma.
3. Physiological and genetic make-up:
The general physiological and genetic make-up of individuals also play an important role in their response to clinical trials. Due to the genetic make-up of some individuals, some antigens or antibodies required to facilitate a particular physiological process are unavailable, so such people may not be able to respond appropriately to the procedure.
Although clinical trials come with a certain element of risk, they can be a really good option worth considering, as it may just happen that you might be the first beneficiary of the next cutting edge breakthrough in the treatment of mesothelioma.