Considerable progress has been made in the field of mesothelioma research and clinical trials in recent years.
Although there is still no method for early detection of mesothelioma, there have been advances in technology. It is important for anyone who has knowingly been exposed to asbestos to tell their physician, who may suggest he or she have these tests performed:
- Chest x-ray – detects abnormalities within the chest.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan – helps to determine if an abnormality in the chest is mesothelioma or a non-malignant tumor.
- Computer Tomography (CT) scans – can create detailed images of the chest and show any abnormalities.
Clinical trials are crucial to the field of mesothelioma treatment research, as they not only shed light upon the illness, they also give patients suffering from this debilitating illness hope. If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, more information regarding clinical studies and how to participate in them is available upon request, and can be a critical tool in improving the quality of life of those affected.
In recent months, a new drug called Alimta (Pemetrexed) has shown great success in clinical studies. When used in conjunction with Cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug that interferes with cancer cell growth, Alimta is intended to stop cancer cell multiplication entirely. Alimta has just recently been approved by the FDA for mesothelioma patients, particularly in patients who do not have the option of surgically removing the cancerous cells. While it is important to remember that this drug is new and there are few records to prove its effectiveness, there have been reports of a 54-year old patient in Africa who participated in the Alimta study and returned to work after five treatments; a testimony to the importance of clinical research and studies.
Interesting and positive research work is also being done at the Josson Cancer Center. A drug, Tarceva, is being combined with anti-inflammatory drug, Celebrex, and is reportedly showing an three time increased response rate in cancer patients. Again, these are only initial findings and need to be validated before this treatment can be approved as safe and effective.