Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mesothelioma Clinical Trials

Mesothelioma Clinical Trials by Archana Sarat

What is a clinical trial?

Medical research is rapidly expanding all over the world. For the various conditions and diseases, lots of new medicines and treatments are being invented everyday. These medicines and treatments have to be studied in depth, analyzed and tested. For this purpose, clinical trials are conducted. Clinical trials are performed to study the effectiveness of new drugs and treatment.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a serious life-threatening condition in which the mesothelium cells behave abnormally. Most of the organs of the body like lungs, abdomen, heart and some other parts have a lining called as mesothelium lining. Mesothelioma is caused due to exposure to asbestos fibers or asbestos dust. When a person inhales the asbestos dust or fibers through the nose or mouth, they enter the body and travel throughout the body. After this, they settle in some body organ and travel through it, finally coming in contact with the mesothelium lining. As soon as they touch the mesothelium lining, the mesothelium cells start behaving in an eccentric manner. They start dividing rapidly and start to outlive the other cells. This leads to the formation of tumors in that organ, leading to mesothelioma. The tumors may also spread to other parts of the body.

What are mesothelioma clinical trials?

Mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose, as the diagnosis procedure is quite complex. Also, the symptoms of mesothelioma, like chest pain, fever, cough, diarrhea and so on are similar to many other benign diseases. Thus, it is often confused with such diseases. Finally, by the time it is correctly found out, the patient is in the last stages of cancer, with only few weeks or days left to live.

A lot of research and analysis is necessary in this disease. A lot more should be done to make the lives of these patients more relaxed and peaceful. To achieve this, lots of researchers are trying to come up with new methods of treatment to help mesothelioma patients. Studies about the effectiveness of these treatments are absolutely necessary and for this reason, mesothelioma clinical trials are conducted.

What is done in a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is performed to study the effectiveness of the new types of treatments invented for mesothelioma. The clinical trial would help to find out the correct amount of dosage, how best to administer the treatment and whether there are any side effects in administering the new medicine or the new method of treatment.

Who are the people in the clinical trials?

Many people enlist themselves in mesothelioma clinical trials. These are the people who may be anxious to try out the new medicines or treatments or these may be people who want to help other people like themselves, who suffer from this terrible condition. Various patients of different backgrounds with different stages and types of mesothelioma are required for the clinical trials. Some of them may benefit from the trial while for some the trial may prove risky and adverse.

What should a volunteer know before participating in a clinical trial?

Every person who wants to participate in a clinical trial should first understand that a trial is only an experimental study. It may be beneficial to some and adverse to some. Some volunteers may give a freehand to the medical researchers to offer any type of treatment. Some volunteers may pose restrictions and demand only certain types of treatments. This is the choice of the Volunteer and every person should decide this before opting for the clinical trial. Also, the persons interested in participation should speak to their doctor beforehand and find out all the necessary information about the clinical trial. Participation in a clinical trial should not be whimsical. It should be an informed decision.

The volunteer should also check whether he or she is qualified for the particular clinical trial. A trial requiring a person in the fourth stage of cancer cannot use a patient who is in the first stage of cancer. A trial involving pleural mesothelioma cannot use a person suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma. It is better to inform you here that pleural mesothelioma affects the lungs, peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdomen and pericardial mesothelioma affects the heart.

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