New Law Provides Hope to Terminally Ill Patients

President Trump gave his seal of approval by signing the Right to Try Act. This new law provides hope to mesothelioma warriors and thousands of other terminally ill Americans across the country.

Under the Right to Try Act, patients will now have new opportunities for treatments that may not have been an option before. Not only will this new law give mesothelioma patients access to investigational drugs, but it will also provide them with an opportunity to participate in clinical trials that they may not have been eligible for previously.

“Right To Try expands access to potentially life-saving treatments years before patients would normally be able to access them,” states the National Right to Try Movement website.

Understanding the Right to Try Act

President TrumpOn May 30th, President Trump made a milestone in healthcare. Previous attempts to pass laws similar to Right to Try have been challenged and voted against.

Right to Try will allow terminally ill patients to try medications that haven’t officially been released yet. These drugs have however been tested and approved by Phase 1 FDA studies.

During Phase 1 studies, the FDA tests the safety of investigational drugs and their dosing. Typically these types of trials consist of 20 to potentially 100 participants and last over a timespan of several months. Following the completion of the trial, investigational agents are either approved for Phase 2 studies or denied.

According to the FDA, “Approximately 70% of drugs move to the next phase.”

Keep in mind that is takes years for a medicine to officially be cleared by the FDA and for it to be available to the public. In some instances, it may take up to 10 years.

For a mesothelioma patient, time is of the essence. Unfortunately, this incurable cancer has an intimidating prognosis of 12 to 21 months. Research suggests that the one-year survival rate is about 40%.

Many mesothelioma warriors are defying the odds with the treatment options that are available to them, but once those treatment options have been taken, what’s next? The Right to Try Act is the answer patients and their loved ones have been searching for.

Mesothelioma Patients Have a Right-To-Try

Currently, there are 38 clinical trials listed by the National Cancer Institute that are recruiting malignant mesothelioma patients. Learn more about how you can get connected to these trials.

Many patients turn to clinical trials when looking for additional treatment methods. Sometimes trials are sought-after when a patient’s treatment options are limited. However, not every patient is an acceptable candidate.

An individual may be ineligible for a trial based on the stage or location of their mesothelioma. Other existing health problems or previous treatment attempts may prohibit them from participating. A patient’s age can even deny them access to a study that may be beneficial to combat their disease.

Under the new Right to Try law, a patient will have the right to have access to these investigational agents that they’ve been denied before – no matter what the circumstances once were. However, there is no promise that these Phase 1 medications will help improve or completely cure a patient.

Clinical trials make mesothelioma patients optimistic about the future. Individuals may experience treatment with new drugs or new methods of receiving radiation, chemotherapy, or multimodal therapy.

Many mesothelioma warriors are beyond thankful for clinical trials and investigational agents.

“I was fortunate to be accepted into a clinical trial and I believe it saved my life,” survivor Kendra Ferreira told Mesothelioma Guide.

Learn more about Kendra’s story and how other mesothelioma warriors are beating the odds in our free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide.

Two Sides to Every Healthcare Story

With the passing of Right to Try, there is some concern among pharmaceutical companies and medical physicians. However, under the new law, both parties are protected.

Medical experts fear that providing early access to unapproved drugs by the FDA may put a patient in more harm. There is also concern about there being a lack of knowledge about the safety and proper dosing of these experimental drugs.

“No person is going to be forced to take an investigational drug. No doctor is going to be forced to request an investigational drug, and no drug company is forced to provide an investigational drug, if they don’t think it’s the right fit for a patient,” supporter Starlee Coleman commented.

Though there is some speculation about giving patients the right-to-try, it is essential to understand that this law is designed specifically for individuals that are aware of the risks involved and are choosing to take them.

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Show Sources & Author

  1. Treatment Clinical Trials for Malignant Mesothelioma. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/clinical-trials/disease/mesothelioma/treatment?pn=1. Accessed: 06/18/2018.
  2. What you need to know about right-to-try legislation. CNN. Retrieved from: https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/22/health/federal-right-to-try-explainer/index.html. Accessed: 06/18/2018.
  3. S.204 - Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017. Congress.gov. Retrieved from: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/204?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22right+to+try%22%5D%7D&r=1. Accessed: 06/18/2018.
  4. FAQ. Right To Try. Retrieved from: http://righttotry.org/faq/. Accessed: 06/18/2018.
  5. FDA's Drug Review Process: Continued. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm289601.htm. Accessed: 06/18/2018.
  6. Step 3: Clinical Research. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/ForPatients/Approvals/Drugs/ucm405622.htm. Accessed: 06/18/2018.

About the Writer, Nicole Godfrey

Nicole Godfrey is the Senior Content Writer for Mesothelioma Guide. She writes and edits pages to make sure that mesothelioma patients and their families receive the most current and significant information about mesothelioma.