CAR T-Cell Therapy for Mesothelioma in New Phase I Trial

CAR T-Cell Therapy for Mesothelioma

Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York are about to try a new kind of CAR T-cell therapy for mesothelioma in human patients.  This is the first Phase I trial of the new CAR T-cell approach. The therapy involves removing some of a patient’s T-cells, modifying them, and giving them back to fight cancer.  The new CAR T-cell therapy for mesothelioma involves cells that have been modified in new ways. They still seek out cancer cells. But these CAR T-cells are made to last longer and to undermine a primary mesothelioma cell defense mechanism. The FDA approved the study in September. Memorial Sloan Kettering is recruiting mesothelioma patients for it now.  T-Cells That Target Mesothelioma Cells CART T-cell therapy … Continue reading CAR T-Cell Therapy for Mesothelioma in New Phase I Trial »

Study to Test Nivolumab and Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma

Nivolumab and Chemotherapy

Researchers in Germany are recruiting patients for a trial of nivolumab and chemotherapy for pleural mesothelioma patients who have had surgery. Nivolumab (Opdivo) is an immunotherapy drug similar to pembrolizumab (Keytruda). It blocks a protein that helps mesothelioma cells hide from the immune system. Nivolumab is most often used for patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The multicenter German study will test if a combination of nivolumab and chemotherapy can help keep tumors from growing back after mesothelioma surgery. Previous studies suggest that it has the potential to do so. How Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors Work Immune checkpoint inhibitors like nivolumab, pembrolizumab, and ipilimumab (Yervoy) are a major focus for mesothelioma researchers. Mesothelioma cells are notoriously tenacious. They often fail to … Continue reading Study to Test Nivolumab and Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma »

Asbestos Affects Immunity, New Report Finds

asbestos affects immunity

A new report from Japanese doctors shows that asbestos affects immunity. It may help explain why exposure to asbestos can trigger mesothelioma. Asbestos is the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma worldwide. But doctors still do not know for sure how this fibrous mineral causes cancer.  Scientists know that inflammation and irritation have something to do with mesothelioma development. But they still do not know much about how asbestos affects immunity. Asbestos and Mesothelioma Development Asbestos is a silicate mineral that lies deep in the ground. For decades, people mined asbestos for use in various industries. Nearly every building in the US built before the mid-1980s contains some asbestos. But asbestos is also a carcinogen. Even small amounts of asbestos exposure … Continue reading Asbestos Affects Immunity, New Report Finds »

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? »

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