Victims of asbestos exposure who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma received some promising medical news last week when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Novocure’s NovoTTF-100L System for treatment of their rare and fatal disease. The approval is the first that the federal agency has given to a malignant mesothelioma treatment in fifteen years.
The NovoTTF-11L System uses what are known as Tumor Treating Fields in combination with pemetrexed plus platinum-based chemotherapy to stop mesothelioma cancer cells from dividing, growing and spreading. The protocol has been designated for use in patients diagnosed with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma. Pemetrexed was the last treatment that the FDA approved for treatment of the rare and fatal disease, and the approval comes after release of the results of the STELLAR phase 2 trial, which followed 80 patients who had received continuous use of the device and the pemetrexed/platinum combination. Those patients were followed for a full year to see how the protocol impacted overall survivor as compared to previous treatments without TTF. The study found that the technology achieved an overall survival rate of 18.2 months, a full six months longer than had been experienced without use of TTF, and a median progression-free survival of 7.6 months as compared to 5.7 months without use of the protocol. Importantly, the researchers found that patients experienced only minor side effects such as a skin rash.
Mesothelioma patients who are interested in the tumor treating field technology should know that it is a home-based treatment that, once prescribed by your physician, your caregiver can be trained on. The arrays are connected to the patient’s chest and need to be used for at least 18 hours a day, though small breaks are permitted. The device requires no specialized power source, though a rechargeable battery is available.
Though the costs of TTF treatment have not yet been established and there is no word as to whether insurance companies plan to cover the protocol, mesothelioma patients who are interested in and eligible for the treatment may be able to pursue compensation for the treatment and other expenses. For more information on pursuing those responsible for the damages that you and your family have suffered, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.