National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the government-sponsored agency for health research and development of medical technology. As the world’s largest source of funding for medical research, the NIH has become a leader for conducting mesothelioma clinical trials.

Founded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH consists of 27 institutes, including the National Cancer Institute, which conducts most of the National Institute of Health’s mesothelioma research.

More than 80 percent of their budget is distributed to university research labs. The NIH also maintains its own laboratories, including the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, which is the largest clinical research hospital in the world.

Clinical Trials at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center

The main focus of the NIH Clinical Center is the clinical trials program at the Center for Cancer Research (CCR). At any given time, the National Institutes of Health’s CRR operates more than 150 cancer-focused clinical trials. Currently, eight clinical trials are in process at the facility. Clinical trials are provided as a way for researchers to better understand the way that mesothelioma responds to treatment while patients can access emerging therapies that may provide better results than standard options.

These clinical trials provide treatment at no cost, and in many cases, the NIH can cover transportation costs after a patient has been accepted into the program. Although the trials are conducted in Maryland, cancer patients from anywhere in the world may be accepted if they qualify. Mesothelioma patients may also be eligible for financial aid to cover any medical expenses from other treatment.

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Recent Mesothelioma Studies Conducted by the National Institutes of Health

In the 2010 fiscal year, the NIH granted more than $7,914,000 to 16 mesothelioma research projects. Five of these projects were conducted at the National Cancer Institute, while the others, led by top mesothelioma researchers like Harvey Pass, Raphael Bueno and Michele Carbone, were performed at NCI-designated research laboratories.

Some of the topics studied included:

  • Immunotherapy for malignant mesothelioma
  • Mesothelin as a mesothelioma biomarker
  • Targeted radiotherapy for mesothelioma
  • Mesothelioma pathogenesis
  • Prognostic and diagnostic mesothelioma tests

Studies from the 2009 fiscal year, which received $11,637,205 in NIH funding, included the pathogenesis of mesothelioma, clinical trials with immunotoxins and computerized analysis of mesothelioma CT scans.

For help finding mesothelioma specialists at NIH-designated cancer centers, or other care facilities in your area, use the Doctor Match Program sponsored by the Mesothelioma Center.

NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers:

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Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers.

Sources
  1. National Cancer Institute. (2011 April 7) "About NIH." Retrieved from http://www.nih.gov/about/
  2. National Cancer Institute. "NCI Funded Research Portfolio." Retrieved from: http://fundedresearch.cancer.gov/nciportfolio/

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