Opdivo for Malignant Mesothelioma: Could a Lower Dose Work?

There is new evidence that low doses of the drug Opdivo (nivolumab) may extend lung cancer survival as well as the standard dose—at a much lower cost. The news may have implications for people with the lung-related asbestos cancer, malignant mesothelioma, who are also sometimes treated with Opdivo. Pleural mesothelioma is a hard-to-treat cancer that grows on the lining around the lungs and causes many of the same symptoms as lung cancer. Some evidence has suggested that Opdivo, an immunotherapy drug already approved for the treatment of recurrent lung cancer, may soon become the first drug approved for recurrent mesothelioma, too. Now, a newly-published Korean study finds that patients may not need as much of the drug as originally thought … Continue reading Opdivo for Malignant Mesothelioma: Could a Lower Dose Work? »

Nurse Compassion May Improve Mesothelioma Outcomes

counseling

Recent research suggests that how people with lung cancers like pleural mesothelioma are treated by their oncology nurses can have a direct bearing on their treatment outcomes. The news is based on a groundbreaking study conducted at two Chinese universities and published in Psychology Research and Behavior Management. Empathy and Lung Cancer Survival The study focused on 365 lung cancer patients who were cared for by 30 different nurses at a Beijing hospital between October 2016 and May 2017. Researchers used a test called flow cytometry to measure the activity of cancer fighting immune system cells including T-cells, B-cells and natural killer (NK) cells. These cells are also activated in patients battling malignant mesothelioma and other cancers. This “cellular immunity” … Continue reading Nurse Compassion May Improve Mesothelioma Outcomes »

Immunotherapy Combo Shows Early Efficacy for Malignant Mesothelioma

AstraZeneca’s immunotherapy drug tremelimumab may still have a chance as a novel mesothelioma treatment, even though an international clinical trial completed last year found that it did not extend mesothelioma survival. In a new study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Italian researchers report that combining the monoclonal antibody with another drug called durvalumab “appeared active” as a second-line mesothelioma treatment with “a good safety profile”. Tremelimumab’s Rocky Start as a Mesothelioma Treatment Hopes were initially high for tremelimumab, a monoclonal antibody that works by binding to the protein CTLA-4 on the surface of white blood cells and preventing it from inhibiting the cells’ cancer-fighting power. The US even granted tremelimumab “orphan drug” status in 2015, a designation designed to … Continue reading Immunotherapy Combo Shows Early Efficacy for Malignant Mesothelioma »

New Immunotherapy Drug Stops Mesothelioma in Half of Patients Tested

The results are in on the Phase I/II trial of the mesothelioma drug ONCOS-102 and researchers say there is reason to be excited. As Surviving Mesothelioma first reported in the fall of 2016, ONCOS-102 and standard chemotherapy significantly slowed the growth of malignant mesothelioma tumors in preclinical studies of infected mice. Now, the first human trial suggests that it can do the same thing in some human mesothelioma patients, boosting the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy and improving mesothelioma survival. Mesothelioma Study Results According to news released by Norway-based drug maker Targovax this week, three out of six patients with unresectable mesothelioma responded to a combination of ONCOS-102 and standard chemotherapy. In two patients, their mesothelioma tumors stopped growing and in … Continue reading New Immunotherapy Drug Stops Mesothelioma in Half of Patients Tested »

Mesothelioma Patients Recruited to Test Promising New Combo Drug

Patients with malignant mesothelioma who have not gotten better after chemotherapy are being invited to enroll in a clinical trial of a combination drug that could be the future of mesothelioma treatment. The drug is called SEL-403. Developed by Selecta Biosciences, the drug seeks to get around the problem of the body producing antibodies that decrease the effectiveness of certain mesothelioma drugs. What is SLE-403 and How Could it Improve Mesothelioma Treatment? SEL-403 is a combination of two agents, The first is LMB-100, an immunotoxin that targets the  protein mesothelin, which is overproduced by most mesothelioma tumors as well as by several other types of cancer cells. Since LMB-100 targets this particular protein, it is less likely to attack healthy … Continue reading Mesothelioma Patients Recruited to Test Promising New Combo Drug »

A Cure for Mesothelioma? Hopes High for New Cancer Vaccine

Researchers at Stanford University are about to move into human trials of what some believe may be the most promising treatment yet for malignant mesothelioma and other types of solid tumors. The new treatment is an immunotherapy vaccine that combines two separate agents, both of which are already being tested independently.   Unlike some other types of immunotherapy – including drugs like Keytruda and Opdivo that have been tested for mesothelioma treatment – the new treatment is not customized to attack a specific type of cancer cell.   Instead, it relies on a two-part system that “teaches” immune system T-cells what kind of cells to attack by injecting the vaccine directly into a tumor. This is known as “in situ” … Continue reading A Cure for Mesothelioma? Hopes High for New Cancer Vaccine »

New Mesothelioma Treatment Combines Immunotherapy and Targeted Radiation

Researchers at one of the nation’s top cancer institutes are betting on a combination of radiation and immunotherapy in the continued pursuit of better treatments for malignant mesothelioma. Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York is now recruiting relapsed mesothelioma patients into a safety and efficacy study of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and the immunotherapy drug avelumab. The new trial is based on the idea that radiation may boost the immune system’s anti-mesothelioma response and that avelumab may enhance the effect. “The combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy may be more effective against mesothelioma than either treatment alone,” writes lead researcher and radiation oncologist Andreas Rimner, MD, in a summary of the new study. SBRT in Mesothelioma Treatment The first … Continue reading New Mesothelioma Treatment Combines Immunotherapy and Targeted Radiation »

Blood Test May Not Predict Mesothelioma Survival as Well as Hoped

A new Japanese study is calling into question the value of a common prognostic test for people with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The test is called the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio or NLR and it is used in many types of diseases, including mesothelioma, as a marker for inflammation. But in a new report published in the journal In Vivo, researchers with the Hyogo Prefectural Amagasaki General Medical Center say they found no relationship between NLR and overall survival in 143 mesothelioma patients. Instead, the scientists found that a different inflammation marker called C-reactive protein-to-albumin ratio (CAR) was a much better predictor of overall mesothelioma survival. How Does NLR Relate to Mesothelioma? Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cells in … Continue reading Blood Test May Not Predict Mesothelioma Survival as Well as Hoped »

Could Stem Cell Vaccine Lead to Mesothelioma Cure?

woman mesothelioma doctor holds syringe

A new stem cell vaccine that has proven effective against malignant mesothelioma and several other cancers in mice might offer a promising new way to treat the asbestos cancer. Although rare, malignant mesothelioma is one of the most treatment-resistant malignancies. Even with aggressive therapies, most people diagnosed with mesothelioma do not survive longer than about 18 months. But research conducted at Stanford University and published in the journal Cell today may change that. It details the anti-tumor responses in the lab and in live mice to a vaccine composed primarily of pluripotent stem cells. Pluripotent Stem Cells and Anti-Tumor Response Pluripotent stem cells – also called iPS cells – are cells taken from the skin or blood that are treated with … Continue reading Could Stem Cell Vaccine Lead to Mesothelioma Cure? »

Study Highlights Challenge of Selecting Patients for Mesothelioma Immunotherapy

A new study is casting some doubt on the value of a protein called PD-L1 as a way to select mesothelioma patients for targeted immunotherapy. Several of the most promising new treatments for malignant mesothelioma, including pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and avelumab (Avastin), are designed to inhibit PD-L1, a protein cells used to evade detection by the immune system. PD-L1 inhibitors like Keytruda have become an important focus of mesothelioma research in the past two years. But a new Mayo Clinic study suggests that PD-L1 may not be the miracle target that scientists and mesothelioma patients have been hoping for. That is because PD-L1 levels can sometimes vary widely, depending on when and from where the tissue samples were collected. PD-L1 Expression … Continue reading Study Highlights Challenge of Selecting Patients for Mesothelioma Immunotherapy »

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