Recent Mesothelioma Research is Helping Patients Live Longer and Better Lives
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium resulting from asbestos exposure. The mesothelium is a lining of different organs including the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testicles. When microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they become lodged in human tissue including the mesothelium. They are so strong that the body is not able to break them down or remove them once they enter the body. Over time, they cause DNA changes, turning regular cells into cancer cells. The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, since asbestos fibers are very easily inhaled. Since mesothelioma is not curable, cancer research and clinical trials are vital to the improvement of the disease.
There is always research being done for mesothelioma. One study recently found that combining the two immunotherapy drugs tremelimumab and durvalumab can extend mesothelioma survival. Researchers in Italy looked at 40 patients with either pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma. They were given a combination of the two drugs for a set amount of time. Both drugs target different overexpressed proteins, so the combination was found to be effective in certain people who had an abondance of these proteins. Mesothelioma sufferers typically only live one-year past diagnosis, but one patient in the study lived for 41 months after diagnosis. If this study moves forward, many patients’ lives could possibly be extended. Read more about the study here.
Another study found that patients could benefit from a second mesothelioma surgery. Researchers found that eligible candidates who had a second surgery could improve their quality of life and even extend their lives. Surgery is uncommon and not always recommended because patients are usually not well enough, or the cancer has spread and the surgery would not be beneficial. Forty patients broken into three groups underwent a second surgery. One group of epithelioid patients had a median survival of 35.8 months, which was the longest of any of the groups. More research needs to be done and more data needs to be collected before researchers can recommend a second surgery for multiple patients. Read more about the study here.
Another recent study wanted to find a test to see if immunotherapy treatments would be effective on mesothelioma patients. When patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma, there is no way of knowing if a treatment will work for a specific person, so doctors will try certain drugs and if they do not work, they will try something else until an effective treatment is found. This is time consuming and can lead to patients not receiving proper care in a quick time frame. This study looks at cell organization and molecular pathways to predict the response a patient will have from a specific immunotherapy treatment. It is based off a new technique that examines the architecture of tumor tissue and 30 different cell types from a tumor sample. After the study finishes, researchers need to perform a clinical trial to confirm the results. Read more about the study here.
These are just a few clinical trials and studies recently being done for mesothelioma. These studies and others like them not only offer a chance to live longer and better lives after a mesothelioma diagnosis, they also offer hope to patients that learn they have a terminal cancer. Cancer research is an important part of cancer care and needs to continue so people diagnosed can have a chance at a better and possibly longer life.
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