When a new drug is at the clinical trial stage, it has passed all the other steps of testing including trying it on animals. The only thing pending is approval from the Food and Drugs Board. The clinical trials are commonly used on different types of cancer that have become very aggressive. Although your doctor may not mention them, ask him/her the next time you see him. Some people have been delighted with the effects of the trial drugs. Thus, the term immunotherapy clinical trials stand for drugs that are yet to be approved but are at that stage where they can be tested on human beings to cure diseases like cancers.
What You Need to Know about Clinical Trials and the Phases Involved
Before you enroll yourself in a clinical trial, it is essential to ask your doctor all the questions that you may have. Let the doctor explain to you the possible side effects of using the specific drug. You should be aware of the expected results. Even from home, you should be able to tell if the medication is working as expected or something has gone wrong. Another question that you need to ask is about the finances. Who will cover the medical expenses? In most cases, the drug sponsor covers some of the cost of the treatment using his/her medicine for the clinical trial. Your insurance will pay for some of the expenses like consultation fees. Clinical trial drugs are administered in phases. The first stage will have very few people, and the number will increase as you approach phase four. The doctor will be observing how different people react to the drug and how it should be administered. The doctor will also find the right dose to fight a particular type of cancer.
An Example of a Successful Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Drug/Case
One successful case when clinical trial drugs have been used to cure cancer is in the use of CAR T cell therapy. The treatment relies heavily on the use of T cells to fight antigens and pathogens. The T cells are the primary disease-fighting cells in the body. The doctors will get some T cells from the patient’s blood, and then genetically engineer the cells to produce chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) which will help fight the pathogens in the tumor. When the genetically engineered CAR T cells are taken back to the patient’s body, they replicate and fight the cancerous cells. In August 2017, the use of CAR T cell therapy was approved. It is now legal to use it when treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children. Soon a second therapy will be recommended for used in adults with advanced lymphomas. Before the approval of CAR T therapy was only used in patients with advanced blood cancers.
The Benefits and Risks of Using Clinical Trial as Your Treatment Option
The benefits of using immunotherapy clinical trials are many. Both the patient and the researchers or doctors who are behind the clinical trial drug will benefit. The patient will get access to a drug that is not available to the general public. He or she will also get a chance of beating cancer since many patients have successfully fought cancer with clinical trial drugs. The treatment is also safe to the patient. As of the doctors, by administering the medication to patients, they will be a step closer to making the drug approved. As a patient, you will have helped the doctors come close to getting a lasting solution of curing cancer.
The drugs have some risks too. The most common risks being the fact that the drug may not work on your body. Even when it works, there will be some unforeseen side effects that you will have to experience. Your insurance company will not cover some costs.
Before addressing the aim of palliative care, it is worth knowing that palliative care is not same as hospice care. You can start palliative care as soon as you are diagnosed with cancer. The care aims to improve the quality of life of any patient that is suffering from a life-threatening disease like cancer and heart disease.
Who Gets Palliative Care, from Whom and at What Stage?
Palliative care is not meant for the patients only; improving the quality of life of the cancer patient involves the people around him or her. Ensure that the close friends and family members are ready to help the patient go through the treatment without victimizing the patient. The care is given to the patient from the beginning of the cancer treatment. The sooner you start the procedure, the better you will cope and handle the adjustments that come with cancer care.
Do not be afraid of asking for this help because of the financial aspect; it is covered by your medical insurance. Both Medicaid and Medicare cover palliative care. Do inquire when unsure and get the best services while you are still under treatment. The care is administered by your doctor, he or she will be an essential person in dealing you deal with the pain. Other notable people that will help you with the emotional pain and spiritual include your family, chaplain, and nurses. A nutritionist will guide you on the foods that will reduce nausea feelings and make you less fatigued.
With Palliative Care, Communication and Sex Issues are Handled
With the support groups and your nutrition’s helping you eat the right foods, aspects of sex and communication become non-issues. For cancer patients, it is challenging to go around telling people that you have been diagnosed t cancer. It is even more difficult if you are a parent and would like to protect your children. With palliative care, you will get ideas and encouragement from the Chaplain or therapist. You will find it much easier to tell your family and friends about your disease. This will in return make it easy for them to support you.
Regarding sex, your engagement in sex will go low depending on the type of cancer you have. The mood swings, body change, and self-esteem issues that come with being a cancer patient can be addressed thoroughly if you have palliative care. Some spouses will also need the same care as they stop having any form of sexual contact with their partners. They do this because they do not want to inflict pain on their loved one. For this, you will need a doctors input as well.
Your Emotional, Spiritual, Job and Financial Matters Will Be Addressed Through Palliative Care
Your chaplain will make it easier for you to solve spiritual matters. It is crucial to note that palliative care will help you value life and enjoy every moment that you get. You will approach your end of life with a more fulfilled attitude and less bitter. Through stress management and relaxation routines, you will cope well with the emotional stress that is associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment. Most cancer patients get depressed when they think of the financial strain the treatment is subjecting their family. Talking in support groups and sometimes chat rooms will give you an opportunity to learn how fellow patients have handled money matters efficiently. With Palliative care, you will know how to address your colleagues at work and how to balance treatment and still be productive at your job.
The palliative care is in the form of medication and support system that aims at decreasing the amount of pain you experience. Such support system will ensure that you adjust well to the changes and you are psychologically ready for the procedures that you will have to undergo.