Patient ProfilesPosted by Jennifer Gelsick on Friday, Jan 11, 2013
The Blessings and Benefits of a Mesothelioma Clinical Trial
Clinical trials can be very tricky and can seem overwhelming. There are strict criteria, possible side effects, and many other facets to consider before deciding to join one. For Dad, and all of our family, being a part of a clinical trial was such a blessing.
Dad was blessed to be chosen to be part of the WT-1 trial at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. This trial consisted of a series of six vaccines, one being administered every two weeks. Being accepted into the trial was dependent on several factors. These included having completed surgery and chemotherapy or radiation (or both, I believe). The candidate must have malignant pleural mesothelioma, and a protein called Wilms-Tumor 1, or WT-1, had to be present in the patient’s tumor. The process of the trial had to begin four to twelve weeks after the patient’s last treatment ended.
Once Dad was finished with his chemotherapy, we contacted MSKCC to find out more information about the trial. Records were sent to be reviewed, and we traveled to NYC for a consultation visit with the amazing Dr. Lee Krug. After the exam and a lot of discussion, it was mutually decided that Dad would take part in the trial. He was taught how to give himself an injection at home that needed to be administered prior to receiving the vaccine.
The side effects of this particular trial seemed to be minimal – redness at the injection site, itchiness, etc. Typical side effects that you can experience when you get a shot. Thankfully, Dad did amazingly well with the trial, feeling well throughout.
The commitment to the trial was a large one as members of our family traveled to NYC every two weeks for the six injections, the consultation visit, and the follow-up visit for a CT scan. The scans will continue to be taken in New York every three months for the next two years, and then every six months for a period of time thereafter. The follow-up care and monitoring is amazing. Another blessing for our family.
When deciding to take part in a clinical trial, remember that it may seem daunting at first, but the benefits can far outweigh the hardships. Again, just as in when deciding to travel for treatment, research as much as you can about a clinical trial and do not be afraid to ask questions. The doctors and staff know that you are not an expert in mesothelioma; that’s why you came to them.
If you find yourself stressed and anxious about the trial, remember that you are not only helping yourself and your health, but you are helping so many others in the process. What a rewarding feeling and a blessing!