Living With Mesothelioma-My Diary- I was interviewed about Placebos, We all watched about the Big C

No Placebo Clinical Trials Offer Mesothelioma Patients Higher Expectations for Outcomes

pillMesotheliomaHelp has written countless articles about the benefits of clinical trials for mesothelioma patients, most recently the ‘encouraging’ results from Keytruda in controlling mesothelioma. However, while trials can offer patients a chance at a longer life, the benefits cannot be realized if the patient is part of the placebo group. Now, a clinical trial research center in Virginia is dedicated to offering oncology clinical trials without the use of placebo.

Blue Ridge Cancer Care (BRCC) in Roanoke, Va., part of the US Oncology Network, one of the nation’s largest networks of integrated, community-based oncology practices, brings clinical trials to cancer patients with cutting-edge technology in a small, community setting, typically found only in major academic medical centers and large hospital systems. The center offers Phase II, III and IV clinical trials through its partnerships with US Oncology and independent sponsors. Trials are offered in breast, prostate, colon and lung cancers, as well as for other cancers.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) reports that sometimes clinical trials need a control group, requiring the use of placebo controls, in order to determine whether the drug is affecting tumor stabilization as well as in understanding drug safety and efficacy. However, ASCO also stresses, “Placebos should be used in cancer clinical trials only when it is scientifically necessary, ethically appropriate, and when patients have been clearly informed.”

In an April 22 interview with WDBJ-7, David Buck, M.D., radiation oncologist at Blue Ridge Cancer Care, said clinical trials are the best way to advance care, and for BRCC trials, “at no time is anyone in the trial given a placebo or no treatment.”

“Clinical trials in oncology never include something like a sugar pill or a placebo,” said Dr. Buck.  “They are always treatment related trials, really trying to decide between two, what appear to be equal treatments- which one is superior for patients as a whole.”

Mavis Nye told MesotheliomaHelp in May last year, when she first learned she was accepted into the M-3475 clinical trial, that it is “brilliant news” that the trial is a no placebo trial. Mavis is a staunch believer that terminally ill patients should not be subjected to a clinical trial if they will receive a placebo with no hopes of benefitting from the drug.

Hope for an effective treatment through a clinical trial, that is not otherwise an option, is particularly important for mesothelioma patients who often are not diagnosed until the disease has progressed to stage III or IV. Mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused, terminal cancer, has an extended incubation period and by the time symptoms are present, the disease has progressed to a point where limited treatment options are available. Finding a clinical trial that offers a life-extending treatment is critical at this juncture.

Amanda Stetler, who chronicled her father’s fight with mesothelioma in “Faces of Mesothelioma,” discussed his participation in an immunotherapy clinical trial offered at the University of Pennsylvania. Amanda believed it was a “scary thought” to think her father could end up with a placebo, and not the “real drug.” As she said, “This is a trial that he was very thankful to qualify for, but with trials there is always that chance of being on the placebo.”

It is important to remember that mesothelioma patients who participate in clinical trials help themselves, the medical community in general, and the mesothelioma community. Without patient participation in trials, some drugs may never make it outside the lab. Whether a trial is placebo or not, it can still make a difference for you and for other mesothelioma patients.

When deciding whether you want to participate in a mesothelioma clinical trial, it is essential to understand what is important to you and your goals in treating the cancer, and to use those answers to help drive your decision. It is also critical to get clear expectations from the medical team about the treatment, the side effects and the predicted results.

To find clinical trials you may be eligible for, talk to your doctor and visit

See these articles on MesotheliomaHelp for more information about mesothelioma clinical trials:

The Mesowarriors stayed on my wall last night and commented right through this film.

So true to life it helped to be able to chat through it so we could be brave enough to watch. It feels like they are all in my Home with me I offered tea even.

The blog is here that they were able to write such a great script

A very brave lady -.

Played so well

Sheridan Smith and Paul Nicholls in The C Word (BBC/Stuart Wood)

Drug Day tomorrow so early night


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