The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) always offers researchers and physicians the opportunity to hear of promising new research into finding better treatment options, and few attend with more hope than those working to cure malignant mesothelioma. The rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos has presented enormous challenges: it has an extremely long latency period that allows the disease to spread unabated long before it is diagnosed and it is extremely resistant to traditional protocols like chemotherapy. But according to a presentation provide this year by Anna Nowak, MD, PhD, of the University of Western Australia, a study that goes by the auspicious name of DREAM has offered some new hope for the combined use of chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Nowak is an internationally-recognized researcher who specializes in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers, and she was recently named Cancer Council Western Australia’s (CCWA) WA Cancer Researcher of the Year. Speaking on the results of her first-of-its-kind research, she said, “We’ve recently seen that combining chemotherapy and immunotherapy can help people with lung cancer live longer. The DREAM study results are the first evidence that the same strategy may be helpful in mesothelioma.”
Her work which is currently in Phase 2, treated patients diagnosed with mesothelioma by administering Alita/Cisplatin along with an immunotherapy drug called Durvalumab. The combination was provided first, and then the immunotherapy treatment continued after the chemotherapy dosing was complete. The first patients for whom data is complete realized enormous benefits, with 65% seeing a partial response to the treatment. The next step is to continue the work with a larger cohort of patients. “Confirming these results in mesothelioma in a larger study is of the utmost priority, and I urge the mesothelioma community to support a definitive clinical trial of chemoimmunotherapy,” she said.
While the medical community works to find more effective treatment options, others are supporting mesothelioma victims by providing legal support. If you need information about your rights and your options, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.