CRISPR Gene Editing Technique and the Future of Mesothelioma Treatment

CRISPR gene editing tehcnique

The powerful CRISPR gene editing technique might have a role to play in the future of mesothelioma treatment. CRISPR is a method for altering certain genes to help fight disease. This week, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania released data from the first study of CRISPR in US cancer patients.  It was only a safety study, but the results are promising. They could have wide-ranging implications for patients fighting aggressive cancers like malignant mesothelioma.  Modifying Genes To Help Fight Cancer The CRISPR gene editing technique is a simplified version of the method bacteria cells use to defend themselves against viruses. This antiviral defense system is called CRISPR-Cas9. The new Penn Medicine study involved just three cancer patients. Two of the … Continue reading CRISPR Gene Editing Technique and the Future of Mesothelioma Treatment »

Pembrolizumab for Mesothelioma Dealt Setback by New Trial Results

pembrolizumab for mesothelioma

There has been a setback for researchers focused on the promise of pembrolizumab for mesothelioma. New research suggests that pembrolizumab (Keytruda) may not be the miracle mesothelioma drug that some were hoping for.  The Phase III trial results were presented at a the European Society of Medical Oncology conference now underway in Spain. They suggest that pembrolizumab for mesothelioma may be no better than chemotherapy for improving survival. Pembrolizumab for Mesothelioma: How it Works Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare but lethal cancer. It is usually associated with on-the-job asbestos exposure. There is no cure. The only drug approved for mesothelioma treatment is Alimta (pemetrexed).   Cancer researchers around the world are working hard to find other mesothelioma treatments. Pembrolizumab for … Continue reading Pembrolizumab for Mesothelioma Dealt Setback by New Trial Results »

Mesothelioma Tumor Response to Nivolumab Detailed in New Case Study

mesothelioma tumor response to nivolumab

An Indian woman in still alive two years after a mesothelioma diagnosis thanks to a remarkable mesothelioma tumor response to nivolumab. Nivolumab is sold under the brand name Opdivo. It is a type of immunotherapy. Nivolumab is sometimes used for lung cancer that progresses after chemotherapy. A hospital in Mumbai tried nivolumab on a pleural mesothelioma patient after several types of chemotherapy did not work. Doctors say the mesothelioma tumor response to nivolumab was so great that the patient no longer needed supplemental oxygen.  Opdivo in Mesothelioma Treatment Opdivo is not FDA-approved for mesothelioma treatment. Only Alimta (pemetrexed) holds that designation. But pleural mesothelioma grows quickly and is hard to treat. Even the gold standard therapies often do not work … Continue reading Mesothelioma Tumor Response to Nivolumab Detailed in New Case Study »

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? »

Effect of Chemotherapy on Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma

effect of chemotherapy on immunotherapy

Belgian scientists say they are still not sure about the effect of chemotherapy on immunotherapy for mesothelioma. They reached that conclusion after testing several different chemotherapy drugs on mesothelioma cells in the lab. The combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy is “chemoimmunotherapy”. It aims to harness the unique powers of each treatment approach. A meta-analysis last May called chemoimmunotherapy the “next frontier” in mesothelioma treatment.  But the new Belgian study on the effect of chemotherapy on immunotherapy highlights how much doctors still do not know about the combo. Immune Checkpoints Are the Key When it is working properly, the immune system is supposed to find and kill cancer cells before they become mesothelioma tumors. But mesothelioma cells can hide from the … Continue reading Effect of Chemotherapy on Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma »

New Mesothelioma Immunotherapy Trial Now Underway at Baylor

mesothelioma immunotherapy trial

Cancer researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have launched a new mesothelioma immunotherapy trial. The trial combines the cancer drug Opdivo (nivolumab) with injections of a modified virus called MTG201. Baylor scientists are hoping to recruit 12 pleural mesothelioma patients whose cancer has come back after chemotherapy.  The treatment combination appeared to work well in mice with mesothelioma. If it works as well in people, this new mesothelioma immunotherapy trial could change the outlook for many people with malignant mesothelioma.  How the New Mesothelioma Immunotherapy Trial Will Work Opdivo is the brand name for nivolumab. It blocks a protein called PD-1 in cancer cells. PD-1 is one of the ways that mesothelioma cells evade the immune system. Opdivo is often … Continue reading New Mesothelioma Immunotherapy Trial Now Underway at Baylor »

Mesothelioma Immunotherapy Drug Keytruda Gets a Boost from Opdivo Study

mesothelioma immunotherapy drug

The company that makes a promising new mesothelioma immunotherapy drug got a boost from a competitor’s study this week.  The makers of the lung cancer drug Opdivo have released some disappointing results from their latest lung cancer trial. The findings present another setback for Bristol-Myers Squibb.  But they are good news for Merck, the maker of the mesothelioma immunotherapy drug Keytruda. In the wake of the publication, Merck’s stocks rose while Bristol-Myers’ dropped.  How Opdivo Works Opdivo is the brand name for nivolumab. It is a monoclonal antibody that blocks PD-1. PD-1 is a cell surface protein expressed by some lung cancer and mesothelioma tumors. An Australian study estimated that more than 72 percent of mesothelioma patients overexpress PD-1. Opdivo … Continue reading Mesothelioma Immunotherapy Drug Keytruda Gets a Boost from Opdivo Study »

Immunotherapy Vaccine for Mesothelioma Shows Promise in Combination Treatment

immunotherapy vaccine for mesothelioma

A bacteria-based immunotherapy vaccine for mesothelioma may improve the odds of surviving the disease by boosting the effects of chemotherapy.  That is the word from the latest clinical trial of CRS-207 headed by researchers at the National Cancer Institute. Thirty-five inoperable patients received the immunotherapy vaccine for mesothelioma along with standard mesothelioma chemotherapy. Eighty-nine percent of them experienced either a full or partial response to the treatment combination.  CRS-207 Immunotherapy Vaccine for Mesothelioma CRS-207 is based on a modified version of Listeria monocytogenes. The bacterium is best known for causing the food borne illness Listeriosis. In CRS-207, the bacteria has been changed so it cannot make patients sick. The immunotherapy vaccine for mesothelioma uses the bacteria to trigger a powerful … Continue reading Immunotherapy Vaccine for Mesothelioma Shows Promise in Combination Treatment »

Palliative Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma Produces “Substantial Treatment Response”

palliative radiotherapy for mesothelioma

Doctors in Pennsylvania may have found a way to boost the effectiveness of palliative radiotherapy for pleural mesothelioma. Palliative radiotherapy is used to help with mesothelioma symptoms. It uses lower doses of radiation. Doctors do not expect to treat mesothelioma with palliative radiotherapy. But researchers at the University of Pennsylvania think it could also be a treatment. They combined palliative radiotherapy with a special kind of gene therapy. The gene therapy affects the immune system. They say the combination produced a “substantial treatment response” in a man with mesothelioma. Immuno-gene Therapy and Palliative Radiotherapy Immuno-gene therapy uses genes to stimulate the immune system against cancer. In the new Pennsylvania case study, a 67-year-old man with mesothelioma received immuno-gene therapy. Doctors … Continue reading Palliative Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma Produces “Substantial Treatment Response” »

Chemoimmunotherapy Called “Next Frontier” for Mesothelioma Cancer

mesothelioma cancer treatment

Mesothelioma researchers in Australia are calling the combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy the “next frontier” in the treatment of mesothelioma cancer. In a study published in the journal Expert Opinions in Biological Therapy, the researchers reviewed past clinical trials on mesothelioma immunotherapy. They focused on studies published between 2016 and 2018. Their goal was to get a clearer picture of just how effective these drugs are and how they might be used in combination with other treatments. Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma Cancer Currently, immunotherapy is not the primary treatment for mesothelioma cancer. Instead, most patients have chemotherapy, which is considered the gold standard treatment. For the past 15 years, Alimta has been the main chemotherapy drug for people with malignant mesothelioma. … Continue reading Chemoimmunotherapy Called “Next Frontier” for Mesothelioma Cancer »

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