Sadly, although 2,500 cases of mesothelioma are still being diagnosed each year only a handful of patients become involved with available clinical trials. Contacting cases of mesothelioma early after the initial diagnosis can be key to enrolling patients in trials and giving them the best care possible.
Another aspect of giving patients the best care possible comes from multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs). Although several centres in the UK have MDTs set up to manage mesothelioma, in other places, patients may not have the benefit of MDTs. Consequently, these patients may not get onto the official radar straight away to learn about opportunities to engage with clinical trials.
William Cookson, Professor of Genomic Medicine at Imperial College London and Head of Respiratory Sciences for the College, is working with colleagues nationwide to address this challenge.
Professor Cookson says: “MDTs can tell new and existing patients about clinical trials and advise them where to go for extra information, in line with agreed protocols. Patients involved with clinical trials traditionally receive an optimal standard of care and we’re focused on ensuring that every mesothelioma patient has the opportunity to engage with the relevant clinical trials on offer.
“This is why we’re working with several different colleagues and agencies nationwide to explore a central way of getting people registered when first diagnosed. The development of this registry will enable us to focus on treatment for all registered mesothelioma patients and can also help to improve the detail of our research into treatments and hopefully, potential cures.”