Mesothelioma Research

There is always research going on in the area of mesothelioma. Much of this research has focused on learning exactly how asbestos changes normal cells and their DNA to cause cancer. By understanding how these fibers produce cancer and other disease, researchers may find ways to prevent those changes.

Doctors constantly learning more
Doctors are always learning more about how best to treat people with mesothelioma. Treatments that combine surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are now being studied and may provide the most promising option for some patients. And new drugs—along with other types of treatments—are now being tested in mesothelioma clinical trials.

Another new approach is a type of gene therapy, which uses special viruses that have been changed in the lab. The virus is injected into the lining of the lungs (the mesothelium), where it infects the cancer cells. The virus then injects a gene into the cancer cells to make them respond to the drug. Treatments that boost a person’s immune system to fight mesothelioma are also being tested.

The search for new and better mesothelioma treatments

The National Cancer Institute sponsors clinical research studies with mesothelioma patients that aim to discover new and better mesothelioma treatments, or to improve the existing forms of treatment. Before any new treatment can be put to general use, clinical trials are conducted to determine whether it is safe for mesothelioma patients and effective against the disease.

Participation in clinical trials is an important treatment option for many mesothelioma patients. Because the existing forms of therapy mostly unsatisfactory, many people feel they have little to risk by joining these studies. Here are some pertinent questions for those considering a mesothelioma clinical trial:

• How long will the mesothelioma trial last?
• What mesothelioma treatments will be used—and how?
• How will patient safety be monitored?
• What are the risks involved?
• Who is sponsoring the research?
• Is this free, or must I pay?

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