Melanoma Clinical Trial Information
Melanoma Clinical Trial
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer which affects the melanocytes, the cells in the skin that produce pigment. While not as frequently found as other skin cancers, it may be potentially fatal if left untreated. The American Cancer Society estimates that 8,650 people will die from melanoma in 2009 alone. Researchers can test the potential therapeutic effects of medications for this condition as well as look for possible ways to create vaccines through a melanoma clinical trial.
There are currently over three hundred melanoma clinical trials that are actively recruiting test subjects in the United States. These include a National Cancer Institute sponsored trial that treats subjects with GC1008, an engineered antibody designed to inhibit transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). TGF-beta is often overproduced in melanoma and can increase the growth and spread of the cancer.
Illinois researchers are recruiting for phase I and II trials using Calcitriol and Temozolomide for patients with metastatic melanoma. The study's goals are to find the maximum tolerable dose, identify any toxicity and investigate tumour response. A nationwide phase III study is testing high dosage Interferon alpha-2b in patients with stage II and III melanoma to determine the effectiveness of it as a treatment and assess potential toxicity.
There is only one phase IV melanoma clinical trial currently recruiting patients. Researchers in California will be collecting one to two blood samples per test subject to isolate T-cells, specific white blood cells which fight infection in the body. They hope to use the T-cells to find antigens, substances which provoke the production of antibodies. By finding antigens for melanoma, they may be able to develop a reliable vaccine to prevent the occurrence.
Melanoma Vaccine Clinical Trial
A melanoma vaccine clinical trial tests potential melanoma vaccines. There are several melanoma vaccine trials currently recruiting. In Louisiana, Ochsner Health System and NewLink Genetics Corporation are studying a combination of HyperAcute melanoma vaccine and PEG-Intron which is a variant of Interferon. The goals of the study are to determine safety, side effects and potential benefits of the combined therapy. The trial is to see if the vaccine, which uses genetically modified melanoma cells grown in a laboratory, will seek out melanoma in the body and destroy them.
The University of Virginia Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute are collaborating on a trial to determine how well vaccine therapy works in advanced melanoma patients.
Clinical Trial Safety
A common concern of those considering a clinical trial is safety. Before a trial can be started, organisers must have their protocol approved. Regulations for clinical trials require researchers to inform potential participants of what the study entails, potential risks and benefits, and any other information necessary to make an informed decision. Test subjects are monitored closely during the trial to ensure safety.
There are some risks associated with clinical trials. Treatment may not work for everyone. In some cases, it may be less effective than conventional treatment. There are also potential side effects which can range from simple annoyances to dangerous.
Participating in clinical trials isn't for everyone. While it does involve a potential risk, the benefits for those in successful trials can be worth it. For those in which conventional treatments are not working, the experimental treatment may offer hope. Participating in a melanoma clinical trial will not only offer the patient possibly more time and quality of life, but has the potential to help thousands more in the future.
If you are interested in a melanoma clinical trial, your first port of call is to your GP or oncologist who will discuss your options; find out which trials are in your area, which suit your circumstances and then make arrangements for you.
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