In the search for a cure for malignant mesothelioma, the rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, scientists have repeatedly run into disappointing roadblocks. Promising therapies repeatedly fall short, leaving researchers frustrated and sending them back to the drawing board. But a recent study that combined two of those disappointing therapies into a single treatment is raising hopes for mesothelioma patients and advocates alike: according to a study published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research, researchers from the National Cancer Institute and Roche Pharmaceutical Research succeeded in eradicating mesothelioma in most mice involved in their study.
The two therapies that were combined each target mesothelioma tumors in different ways. The first is through the use of immunotoxins, which are molecules scientists are able to engineer to attach themselves directly to mesothelioma cancer cells. The second is what is known as a checkpoint blocker: this is an approach that attacks the specific protein that cancer cells of all kinds produce to help them escape attacks from the body’s natural immune system. Each had been tried on their own in the treatment of mesothelioma patients, but had provided either limited or no benefits. But when the scientists combined the two, they found that the immunotoxins were able to make the checkpoint inhibitor much more effective. In eight out of eleven mice treated with one the of immunotoxins, mesothelioma tumors were completely eliminated; in a study looking at another immunotoxin, the same was true for eight out of thirteen mice. In all cases the animals were later injected with other forms of cancer cells to see whether the immune response was limited to mesothelioma or whether it extended to all types of cancers. They found that it had provided immunity against tumors in general.
The researchers found that the laboratory animals involved in the study were able to tolerate the new combined treatment well with little or no adverse effect, and this has led to them suggesting that the approach be tried in human patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. For patients who are searching for answers, this may provide the best hope yet for the possibility of extended survival or even a cure for this deadly disease.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, there is constant hope that medical research will provide an answer, but also a need to be pragmatic in your approach to those who are responsible for your condition. A mesothelioma lawyer can help you understand how your rights have been violated and what compensation may be available to you. Contact us today to learn more about your options. We can be reached through our website or at 1-800-966-2244.