There are few things more frustrating for a person diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma than hearing that the treatment they’ve been put through has not worked. Whether it’s one of the FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs, a new immunotherapy drug, or some other form of treatment, when it is administered to a mesothelioma patient it takes a significant amount of time to determine whether it is going to work on the patient – and if it hasn’t then it is valuable time lost. Researchers from the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have created an answer to this challenge in the form of a new technology that creates “organoids” — miniature tumors grown directly from cells surgically removed from the patient’s tumor, on which the various medications can be simultaneously tested to determine whether they will be effective or not.
The technology was revealed in the recent issue of the journal Communications Biology, and though it is not specifically designed for use in malignant mesothelioma tumors, it will be particularly helpful to patients suffering from rare forms of cancer. The challenge presented by rare diseases is that researchers do not have a broad base for clinical testing and so their knowledge is more limited. This new technology will permit multiple tests to be done on a patient’s specific tumor and will deliver answers on a treatment protocol’s effectiveness within about two weeks.
According to the study’s senior author, scientist Alice Soragni, “We always focus on how we need new and better drugs to treat cancer. While that’s true, we also have many drugs currently available — for most of them, we just haven’t been able to figure out who is going to respond to which ones. We obtain cancer cells directly from surgery and that same day we can seed them to generate tumor organoids. We created a miniaturized system that allows the setup of hundreds of wells for testing with minimal manipulation.”
Technological breakthroughs like this one offer real hope for patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. If you or someone you love has this disease and you need information about legal representation, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.