Mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of cancer. Although its incidence continues to grow, there are only between two and three thousand cases that are diagnosed per year, and that is unfortunately not enough of a sampling to have allowed doctors and researchers to find a cure. There are several different treatment approaches that are commonly used, including typical cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, surgical approaches, and a combination of those therapies. Most of the treatments that are offered are simply designed to prolong life or offer a relief from some of the more painful symptoms that the disease causes, and many patients opt out, choosing to simply allow the disease to run its course rather than put themselves into a weakened state as a result of treatment. Other patients are more interested in seeking all options, whether for themselves or for future patients. These patients choose to allow themselves to be used as a testing ground for clinical trials.
When a clinical trial is run, there is no promise or guarantee of cure, or even of treatment. You are putting yourself in the hands of the scientists who are trying to find a cure and letting them test their theories on your body and your illness. Patients understand that the approaches that are being used on them have not been approved, and may in fact make their symptoms worse. These trials are generally aimed at one of three goals: determining whether a course of treatment is safe, determining whether it is effective, and then comparing its effectiveness against other forms of treatment. The sizes of the groups involved may vary depending upon which phase of the testing is being done, and there are many variables involved in being accepted into a test, including demographic information such as age or sex, what the initial source of exposure to asbestos was, how far the disease state has progressed, and what treatments (if any) the patient has already tried.
Taking part in a clinical trial is a decision that needs to be made by the patient and his family, and should probably be part of the same decision making process that goes into determining what to do to seek compensation for damages caused by the illness. A qualified Mesothelioma attorney can help you with determining the strength of your case, as well as point you to facilities that are offering clinical trial opportunities.