Manipulating “Fight or Flight” Could Impact Effectiveness of Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma

Effectiveness of Immunotherapy

Doctors at the University of Connecticut may have found a way to influence the effectiveness of immunotherapy by manipulating the body’s fight or flight response. The finding could have a bearing on the treatment of advanced mesothelioma.   Researchers used mice to confirm the connection between the sympathetic nervous system and the body’s ability to fight off cancer. The sympathetic nervous system regulates the “fight or flight” response to stress.  The report shows that this response impacts the development of natural killer cells. Drugs that alter that response might change the effectiveness of immunotherapy.  What is the Sympathetic Nervous System? When the body is under stress, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) releases a cascade of hormones and chemicals. These hormones increase … Continue reading Manipulating “Fight or Flight” Could Impact Effectiveness of Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma »

T-Cell Immunotherapy Trial Could be Good News for Mesothelioma Patients

T-Cell Immunotherapy

The first four mesothelioma patients treated with a new kind of T-cell immunotherapy have responded well with few side effects.  That is the word from researchers working with the drug TC-210. TC-210 is a type of T cell therapy. It is made by TCR² Therapeutics. Malignant mesothelioma is one of several kinds of cancers that overproduce the protein mesothelin. In the Phase I trial, tumors regressed in all five cancer patients who received T-cell immunotherapy with TC-210.  Targeting Cancer with T-Cells T-cells are immune system cells that help fight cancer and other invaders. Mesothelioma and other cancers have ways of avoiding the body’s natural killer T-cell response. T-cell immunotherapy helps to turn it back on.  TC-210 is like a “living … Continue reading T-Cell Immunotherapy Trial Could be Good News for Mesothelioma Patients »

Non-Epithelioid Mesothelioma: Immunotherapy Combo Could be the New Standard of Care

Two immunotherapy drugs could become the new standard of care for people with non-epithelioid mesothelioma.  All forms of malignant mesothelioma are deadly. But people with a non-epithelioid mesothelioma subtype are less likely to respond to standard treatments. Their variety of mesothelioma is especially resistant to chemotherapy with cisplatin and Alimta. This has been the mainstay of pleural mesothelioma treatment since 2004. But a new trial shows two immunotherapy drugs extended mesothelioma survival better than chemotherapy. This could be especially good news for patients with non-epithelioid mesothelioma.  Checkpoint Inhibitors for Mesothelioma Most people with pleural mesothelioma start with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can often extend life by a few months. It is most beneficial for patients with epithelioid mesothelioma. But this approach does … Continue reading Non-Epithelioid Mesothelioma: Immunotherapy Combo Could be the New Standard of Care »

Immunotherapy with Durvalumab: Record Survival in Inoperable Mesothelioma

immunotherapy drug durvalumab

There is new evidence that the immunotherapy drug durvalumab may make chemotherapy more effective for people with inoperable pleural mesothelioma. Researchers recently achieved record mesothelioma survival times with this combination. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer with a poor prognosis. Surgery can sometimes help if it is caught early. But only a small percentage of patients are candidates for mesothelioma surgery. Most have chemotherapy, which is only moderately effective.  But new research presented to the nation’s largest gathering of cancer doctors shows the immunotherapy drug durvalumab may help.  Doctors at Johns Hopkins combined durvalumab with standard mesothelioma chemotherapy. Study participants lived an average of 8 months longer than is typical with this disease.  If further studies confirm the benefit, it could … Continue reading Immunotherapy with Durvalumab: Record Survival in Inoperable Mesothelioma »

Infections Can Help Fight Mesothelioma, Study Suggests

infections can help fight mesothelioma

There is new evidence to support the idea that infections can help fight mesothelioma.  Researchers at a Belgium University say mice with mesothelioma had slower-growing tumors and lived longer when they were injected with a virus.  The research team used a mouse virus called lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus. The new study suggests that infections can help fight mesothelioma by activating cancer-killing immune system cells.  The study could help doctors understand how to use the immune system to combat malignant mesothelioma in human patients.  The Immune System and Mesothelioma The immune system is constantly on the lookout for cells that could turn into cancer. When natural killer cells recognize a potential mesothelioma cell, they destroy it.  But mesothelioma cells produce proteins that … Continue reading Infections Can Help Fight Mesothelioma, Study Suggests »

Photoimmunotherapy for Mesothelioma Reduces Tumor Volume in Mice

photoimmunotherapy for mesothelioma

Japanese researchers testing photoimmunotherapy for mesothelioma say they used the technology to successfully reduce the size of tumors in mice. Scientists at the National Cancer Institute in the US developed near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT). It is a new type of cancer immunotherapy that uses a chemical to make some cells more sensitive to light. When light is directed at these cells, they die. In their new study of photoimmunotherapy for mesothelioma, the Japanese team targeted podoplanin. Podoplanin is a glycoprotein. Many mesothelioma tumors overexpress podoplanin.  Targeting Mesothelioma Tumors with Light Malignant mesothelioma is a fast-growing membrane cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Standard cancer therapies do not work well for mesothelioma. Cancer researchers around the world are looking for alternative treatments.  Immunotherapy … Continue reading Photoimmunotherapy for Mesothelioma Reduces Tumor Volume in Mice »

Social Distancing for Mesothelioma Patients: Unexpected Upside?

social distancing for mesothelioma patients

As concern about the novel coronavirus spreads around the world, there could be an unexpected upside to social distancing for mesothelioma patients.  Social distancing is the recommendation that people not gather in larger groups. Even in smaller settings, the CDC recommends that people stay at least six feet apart from one another to avoid spreading the virus.  The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by the virus SARS-CoV2. Because humans have not yet built up immunity to SARS-CoV2, it is more likely to make them sick. Mesothelioma patients may have even lower resistance to disease. This is why social distancing for mesothelioma patients is especially important. As people become more aware of the threat to themselves at others, they are less … Continue reading Social Distancing for Mesothelioma Patients: Unexpected Upside? »

Protein Biomarker for Mesothelioma Linked to Shorter Survival

protein biomarker for mesothelioma

An international team of scientists has identified a protein biomarker for mesothelioma that appears to shorten survival. The biomarker is CD70. It belongs to the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family of proteins. New research suggests that patients who express more of this protein biomarker for mesothelioma have faster-growing tumors that are less likely to respond to treatment. High CD70 levels have been linked with tumor aggression in some other types of cancer. This is the first time they have been linked to malignant pleural mesothelioma survival.  CD70 and Mesothelioma Prognosis Pleural mesothelioma is a highly aggressive type of tumor. It grows on the membranes around internal organs. Mesothelioma rarely responds to standard cancer treatments. People diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma are … Continue reading Protein Biomarker for Mesothelioma Linked to Shorter Survival »

First-Line Keytruda Treatment May Support Longer Mesothelioma Survival

first-line Keytruda treatment

New data suggests first-line Keytruda treatment helps lung cancer patients more than chemotherapy – even if chemotherapy patients add Keytruda later. The news is likely to have implications for people with pleural mesothelioma, too. German researchers presented the data earlier this week at the World Lung Cancer Conference in Barcelona.  The presentation was based on three years of the KEYNOTE-024 trial. The trial focused on lung cancer. But Keytruda is also an up-and-coming drug for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is a lung-related cancer similar to non-small cell lung cancer.  Blocking PD-L1 with First-Line Keytruda Treatment Keytruda is the brand name for pembrolizumab. It is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that blocks a protein called PD-L1. To be eligible for first-line … Continue reading First-Line Keytruda Treatment May Support Longer Mesothelioma Survival »

New Hope for Relapsed Pleural Mesothelioma?

relapsed pleural mesothelioma

There is new evidence that adding a drug called vorinostat to immunotherapy might help relapsed pleural mesothelioma patients.  The new study comes from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. It focused on patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is similar to pleural mesothelioma in many ways.  The study found that patients who received vorinostat along with an immune checkpoint inhibitor had better results. The findings could be good news for relapsed pleural mesothelioma patients, too. Different Immunotherapy Drugs Vorinostat is sold under the brand name Zolinza. It is a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. HDAC inhibitors alter the way proteins are expressed inside cells. They also stimulate the immune system.  Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) like Keytruda also … Continue reading New Hope for Relapsed Pleural Mesothelioma? »

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