Mesothelioma Cancer Patients May Be Eligible for New Clinical Trial

NEW YORK – Columbia University is enrolling participants in a Phase II clinical trial in order to determine the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug treatment program whose aim is to treat patients with malignant pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma.
The trial is being conducted in order to determine the effectiveness of a course of treatment combining the two drugs oxaliplatin and gemcitabine, in patients who have not received more than one previous course of chemotherapy. Oxaliplatin is a platinum-containing organic compound which targets cancer cells by inhibiting or specifically preventing replication and repair of the cancer cells’ DNA. Gemcitabine is a cancer drug which similarly targets the replication processes of cancer cells’ DNA by inhibiting the production of the cellular material which is necessary for DNA synthesis. Oxaliplatin is marketed under the proprietary name ELOXATIN, and is manufactured by Sanofi Aventis, Inc. ELOXATIN is a commonly prescribed chemotherapeutic drug for patients with either advanced colon cancer or colorectal cancer. Gemcitabine, marketed under the trade name Gemzar, is manufactured by Eli Lilly Co. and frequently used in the treatment of breast, lung, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers. In a previously published study by researchers from The Respiratory Diseases Clinic Heckeshorn in Berlin indicated that applying oxaliplatin and gemcitabine every 21 days in mesothelioma patients resulted in a slower progression of the disease in addition to an increased rate of control. Researchers hope to enroll 29 patients in a study that is expected to last 6 months. Standard tests and medical assessments will be made prior to participant enrollment. Patients considered must be 18 years of age or older and have histologically confirmed malignant pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma which is untreatable by surgery. Patients may have undergone pleurodesis in the past, but there must be at least a two-week interval between that procedure and enrollment in this study. All participants must have an estimated life expectancy of more than 12 weeks and must not be pregnant or breastfeeding. If patients respond well to the initial six courses of chemotherapy, researchers may choose to continue treatment if deemed beneficial for the patient.