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Thalidomide and Alimta to be Combined in New Clinical Trial

Australian researchers will test the controversial drug Thalidomide as a follow up treatment for mesothelioma patients who have undergone chemotherapy.

The trial was made possible after Alimta’s recent addition to the Australian government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which subsidizes the cost of medication making it easier for patients to receive treatment they could not have otherwise afforded.

With a likely increase in patients taking Alimta, they want to measure whether Thalidomide can be used to improve their quality of life following treatment cycles. The two-year clinical trial will be organized by the Australian Lung Cancer Trials Group and headed by Dr. Nick Pavlakis. They plan to begin the trial around March or April depending on the time it takes for patients to sign up.

Thalidomide is a sedative and was once marketed as a treatment for morning sickness during the 1950s and early 1960s. The drug caused a number of problems with miscarriages and birth defects and was taken off the market. However since mesothelioma patients are generally older they will not run into any of those problems.