Malignant mesothelioma drug trials revolve around the testing of newly developed mesothelioma treatment modalities designed to combat the fatal cancer. Traditional mesothelioma cancer treatments have been unable to provide containment of the disease, forcing researchers to develop and implement new malignant mesothelioma cancer treatment options. Malignant mesothelioma drug trials testing new chemotherapy drugs are ongoing and believed to be capable of producing significant advancements in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.

Current Phase I
Malignant Mesothelioma Trials

As of January 2012 there are fifteen (15) phase I clinical trials for malignant mesothelioma. These treatment trials and other trials in phase II and III are all listed at the National Cancer Institute's ( NCI ) clinical trial search page .

Phase I (phase one) trials are the first studies used on people to evaluate how a new drug should be given (by mouth, injected into the blood, or injected into the muscle), how often, and what dose is safe.

Before a phase I trial is done, laboratory studies using murine models are usually carried out to better understand the drug. Murine is a word meaning, of or relating to, a murid genus (Mus) or its subfamily (Murinae) which includes the common household rats and mice. The success of these studies may lead to a phase I study with humans. Further studies may be carried out with other mammalian species before the drug is tried in humans.

These trials are conducted primarily to evaluate the safety of chemical or biologic agents or other types of interventions (e.g., a new radiation therapy technique). The trials help determine the maximum dose that can be given safely (also known as the maximum tolerated dose) and whether an intervention causes harmful side effects. Phase I trials enroll small numbers of people (often less than twenty) who have advanced cancer that cannot be treated effectively with standard (usual) treatments or for which no standard treatment exists. Although evaluating the effectiveness of interventions is not a primary goal of these trials, doctors do look for evidence that the interventions might be useful as treatments.

There are different types of clinical trials for mesothelioma such as treatment, prevention, genetic, supportive care and other trial types. Mesothelioma treatment trials test the effectiveness of new treatments or new ways of using current treatments in people who have cancer. The treatments tested may include new drugs or new combinations of currently used drugs, new surgery or radiation therapy techniques, and vaccines or other treatments that stimulate a person's immune system to fight cancer. Combinations of different treatment types may also be tested in these trials.

The use of placebos as comparison or “control” interventions in cancer treatment trials is rare. If a placebo is used by itself, it is because no standard treatment exists. In this case, a trial would compare the effects of a new treatment with the effects of a placebo. More often, however, placebos are given along with a standard treatment. For example, a trial might compare the effects of a standard treatment plus a new treatment with the effects of the same standard treatment plus a placebo.

Phase I treatment trials for mesothelioma are being conducted in the following fifteen states: AR, AZ, CA, IL, MA, MD, MI, MN, NE, NM, NY, OH, PE, TX, and UT. The majority of the trials are being held in two locations:

  1. Bethesda , Maryland at the Warren Grant Magnuson Center , Ph: (888) NCI-1937, Email:
  2. Houston , Texas at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center at University of Texas Ph: 713-792-3245

The following drugs and other treatment approaches alone or in combination are being used in these trials: CBP501, Pemetrexed, Cisplatin, allogeneic tumor vaccine, metronomic oral Cyclophosphmide, Celecoxib, FR901228 (Depsipeptide), Flovopiridol, gene therapy, Sunitinib plus radiation, Oxaliplatin, Paclitaxol, Bevacizumab, SS1(dsFv)-PE38 immunotoxin, Azacitidine, Temozolomide, IHOC Cisplatin, Gemcitabine, Amifostine, Sodium Thiosulfate cytoprotection, Sorafenib, Disatinib, and Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)

For detailed information on what clinical trials are all about, read the NCI's fact sheet on the subject. It discusses who bears the cost of clinical trials, how patient safety is ensured, what the pros and cons of taking part in a trail are, and many other details.

One of the newer chemotherapy drugs being researched and developed for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma that is currently receiving a great deal of attention is Alimta (pemetrexed) with Cisplatin. A non-chemotherapy drug currently being researched is Veglin (anti-angiogenesis drug).

Learn more about Alimta trials.

Learn more about Veglin trials.

Learn more about all clinical trials.