Clinical trials are a vital form of research where tests are conducted and evaluated based on how subjects react to a new, potentially life-saving drug or treatment. The process is often mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before a product is introduced to the public. Starting with the discovery phase, trials can last up to six to seven years based on the time each subsequent phase requires.
Testing Grinds To A Halt
Earlier this year, the world seemingly stopped when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered people in their homes and closed businesses in all types of industries. Patients suffering from mesothelioma saw trials grind to a halt, as did enrollment into these studies. Those who already signed up for tests were forced to wait.
With businesses in various industries starting to relaunch operations, treatment centers are resuming clinical trials while others are removing limitations that existed prior to the pandemic. Participants can once again have access to experimental treatments not yet approved by the FDA.
Innovation Leads The Way
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is also helping medical professionals implement safety measures while encouraging review boards and trial sponsors to be more flexible on test and assessment timing for mesothelioma patients.
If anything good can come out of a pandemic is the change, if not modernization of clinical trial logistics that include:
- Increasing accessibility of travel
- Shipping medication to patients’ homes
- Virtual study visits
- Blood tests in less-crowded environments
The implementation of telemedicine and online appointments combined with reduced geographical restrictions can ease the challenges patients face, not to mention the fear of disqualification from what could be life-saving experimental treatments.
For those suffering from a deadly form of cancer where a cure has been elusive, their lives literally depend on it.