Resources for Patients and their Families

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials to test new mesothelioma treatments and diagnostic methods are ongoing. We provide a list of active, recruiting, and recently completed studies to help mesothelioma patients and their families find potentially life-saving trials quickly.

For mesothelioma patients who do not respond well to conventional therapies, clinical trials offer the best opportunity for long-term survival. The use of experimental drugs and procedures begin with in-depth studies that can significantly improve life expectancy and quality of life.

Some recent successes with clinical trials include the immunotherapy drugs Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) and Avastin® (bevacizumab). Other forms of experimental treatments currently being studied are gene therapy, photodynamic therapy, and multimodality therapy. For a list of current and past mesothelioma clinical trials, please click on the links below:


These studies are actively recruiting new patients who meet the trial criteria. Mesothelioma patients interested in participating in a clinical trial should start here.

Active - Not Recruiting

These studies are currently underway. Except in unusual circumstances, these trials will not take new patients. However, if you are interested in one of these trials, talk to your doctor.


These studies have recently wrapped up and are considered closed. Doctors review the data from completed trials to understand its level of success.

Note: Clinical trial information is provided by

How to Participate in a Clinical Trial

Patients who want to participate in a mesothelioma clinical trial typically need to meet certain criteria. The criteria for a trial can be broad (such as, diagnosed with cancer) or it can be specific (such as, diagnosed with Stage 4 peritoneal mesothelioma with sarcomatoid cell type).

If you want to participate in a currently recruiting trial, you will need to provide informed consent to your doctor. Your doctor will explain to you the details about the study and then have you complete a form indicating your desire to join the trial.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Clinical Trials

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • What kinds of tests and treatments does the study involve?
  • How will the treatment affect me (positively and negatively)?
  • What other options do I have?
  • What side effects can I expect from the study?
  • Can I receive treatment in my doctor's office, or will I need to travel?
  • Does the study cost anything? Is it covered by insurance?
  • Will I have to be hospitalized? If so, how often and for how long?
  • Will I receive long-term, follow-up care as part of the study?
  • Has this therapy been used to treat other types of cancers?
  • If I am harmed as a result of the research, what treatment would I be entitled to?

Paying for Clinical Trials

In most cases, clinical trial expenses will be covered by the sponsoring entity. This might include a government agency, a university hospital, or a pharmaceutical company.

Government Funding: In 2015, the National Cancer Institute received $4.9 billion in funding, much of which was distributed as grants to research institutions to study new cancer treatments. Cancer research has always had broad bipartisan support in Congress, so it is likely that similar research funding will continue to be available for the foreseeable future.

University Research: Many universities take advantage of government grants to conduct studies, but they also often supplement those funds with money of their own. This may come from donations, fees to the institution, or as grants from private nonprofit organizations.

Pharmaceutical Companies: Many drug companies put significant amounts of money into their research and development budgets, which include money for conducting clinical trials. Since these studies are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, drug companies have a strong incentive in paying for clinical trials so that their drugs will make it to market.

Patient Costs: While many of the costs for clinical trials are covered for mesothelioma patients, they may still need to pay for transportation, trips to the doctor, and various tests. Some of these may be covered by insurance, such as Medicare for individuals over the age of age 65. Patients with mesothelioma may also be entitled to compensation that can help pay for trial costs.

Resources for Mesothelioma Patients and Their Families

Phases of a Mesothelioma Clinical Trial

Before a treatment receives approval from the FDA, it must undergo at least three separate phases of clinical trials, with a possible fourth phase following approval. These phases occur after a treatment has been tested in laboratory and animal studies, and they are intended to show that the drug is both effective and safe for human use.

Phase 1 Trials

Phase 1 trials are conducted with a small group of people (a few dozen or so) in order to determine the drug’s safety and effectiveness. In these trials, doctors will look at dosage levels, side effects, and how the body metabolizes the drug.

Phase 2 Trials

In Phase 2 trials, doctors will administer the drug to a larger group of people (usually a few hundred) to get a better idea of a drug’s safety and effectiveness. In many cases, Phase 2 trials are used to compare the drug being studied with existing treatments and/or placebos.

Phase 3 Trials

Phase 3 trials are comparison studies that observe the effects of the new treatment on a large group of people. All patients in Phase 3 trials are monitored closely for side effects, and treatment is discontinued if the side effects become too severe.

Phase 4 Trials

In some cases, after a treatment is approved it will continue to undergo study as part of a Phase 4 trial. These studies are generally used to better understand long-term uses of a drug or other therapy, or to test it in other populations not included in the original trial.

Related Blog Posts

Understanding Cancer Clinical Trials

New Mesothelioma Clinical Trial Tests Immunotherapy Before Surgery


National Cancer Institute. Malignant Mesothelioma Research.

National Institutes of Health.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Inside Clinical Trials: Testing Medical Products in People. Updated November 6, 2014.

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