Altered Herpes Virus Halts Mesothelioma Growth in New Study

altered herpes virus

An altered herpes virus has been shown to stabilize the growth of mesothelioma tumors in half of patients who participated in a new UK study.  Researchers at the University of Sheffield injected thirteen mesothelioma patients with a cancer cell-seeking version of HSV, the virus that causes herpes.  The altered herpes virus is not able to replicate in non-dividing cells. This also makes it most destructive inside cancer cells. It is also attenuated or weakened so it does not cause herpes. Other studies show the virus (HSV1716) can stimulate the immune system against cancer. The new report suggests that it may be a safe new way to fight mesothelioma, too. The Need for a New Mesothelioma Drug The FDA has only approved … Continue reading Altered Herpes Virus Halts Mesothelioma Growth in New Study »

Vitamin D3 May Slow the Spread of Pleural Mesothelioma, Study Shows

Vitamin D

A study conducted in Italy suggests that Vitamin D3 might help keep mesothelioma cells from growing and spreading. The biologically active form of Vitamin D is calcitriol or D3. Other studies suggest it might have anticancer properties. But no one has studied its effect on mesothelioma cells until now.  The researchers applied Vitamin D3 to pleural mesothelioma cells in the lab. Not only did it weaken the cells, but it also blocked their ability to divide into new cells. The study suggests that Vitamin D may even boost the effectiveness of mesothelioma chemotherapy. The Cancer-Fighting Role of Calcitriol The body naturally produces calcitriol. It plays a role in regulating the cell cycle, including apoptosis or natural cell death. Vitamin D3 … Continue reading Vitamin D3 May Slow the Spread of Pleural Mesothelioma, Study Shows »

Leukemia Drug for Mesothelioma? Lab Tests Show It’s Possible

leukemia drug

New data suggests that doctors might have good luck using a leukemia drug to treat pleural mesothelioma. The drug in question is ponatinib. It sells under the brand name Iclusig. Ponatinib is a pill that inhibits certain enzymes that may lead to mesothelioma tumor growth.  A study carried out at the University of California showed that the leukemia drug kept mesothelioma cells from growing and spreading in the lab. It could give doctors a new treatment option for patients who do not respond to standard therapies.  How the Leukemia Drug Works Ponatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Tyrosine kinases are enzymes that interact with certain proteins inside cells. Tyrosine kinases act as on/off switches for many cellular functions.  In some … Continue reading Leukemia Drug for Mesothelioma? Lab Tests Show It’s Possible »

Could This Protein Play a Role in Survival of Pleural Mesothelioma?

survival of pleural mesothelioma

Research funded by the National Cancer Institute has identified a protein that might play a key role in survival of pleural mesothelioma.  The protein is called UHRF1. It is encoded by a gene of the same name. Researchers believe it may be a driver of growth and spread in malignant mesothelioma.  The research will have to be confirmed on a larger scale. But if it turns out to be true, it could give doctors a new way to extend survival of pleural mesothelioma.  Finding Drivers of Mesothelioma Growth Pleural mesothelioma is a membrane (mesothelium) cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Although some people do survive mesothelioma, it is rare. Average survival of pleural mesothelioma is right around 18 months.  It can … Continue reading Could This Protein Play a Role in Survival of Pleural Mesothelioma? »

First Patient Dosed in New Trial for Relapsed Mesothelioma

relapsed mesothelioma

Doctors in the UK have started treatment on the first patient in the trial of a new drug combination for relapsed mesothelioma. The drug is called bemcentinib. It blocks a protein encoded by the AXL gene. People with mesothelioma tend to overexpress this protein. Studies show that this extra AXL protein might help cancer cells hide from the immune system. It might also help them spread to other parts of the body.  In the new trial, patients with relapsed mesothelioma will get a combination of bemcentinib and Keytruda (pembrolizumab). Keytruda is an immunotherapy drug. Like bemcentinib, it helps make mesothelioma cells vulnerable to immune system attack.  Animal studies and tests in lung cancer patients show that bemcentinib may help immune … Continue reading First Patient Dosed in New Trial for Relapsed Mesothelioma »

New Drug Combination for Mesothelioma Wins FDA Approval

New Drug Combination for Mesothelioma

The FDA has approved a new drug combination for mesothelioma. It is the first systemic treatment for mesothelioma to win FDA approval in 16 years.  The combination includes a pair of immunotherapy drugs that complement each other. Both drugs are immune checkpoint inhibitors. They are approved to treat people with inoperable pleural mesothelioma.  “Today’s approval of nivolumab plus ipilimumab provides a new treatment that has demonstrated an improvement in overall survival for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma,” says Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence. New Treatment Options Needed Pleural mesothelioma is a virulent cancer of the membrane that surrounds the lungs. Asbestos exposure is usually the trigger. Many countries have banned asbestos. In the US, … Continue reading New Drug Combination for Mesothelioma Wins FDA Approval »

Could Anti-Malaria Drug Become New Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment?

new pleural mesothelioma treatment

A new report  suggests an anti-malaria drug called quinacrine has potential as a new pleural mesothelioma treatment. Before chloroquine became more popular, quinacrine was widely used to treat malaria. Now doctors mostly use it for a diarrhea disease caused by a parasite. But a report published in the International Journal of Molecular Science says quinacrine also has anti-cancer properties. Laboratory tests suggest it has the makings of a powerful new pleural mesothelioma treatment. The Challenge of Pleural Mesothelioma Malignant mesothelioma starts on the membranes around internal organs. It can quickly spread to other parts of the body. Pleural mesothelioma grows on the lining around the lungs. It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos dust.  Most people with mesothelioma … Continue reading Could Anti-Malaria Drug Become New Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment? »

FDA Approval of Keytruda will Help Some Mesothelioma Patients

FDA Approval of Keytruda

The FDA approval of Keytruda this month may help some patients in their battle against asbestos cancer.  Keytruda is the brand name for the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. The FDA first approved Keytruda as a first-line treatment for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. That initial approval came in 2017. The new FDA approval of Keytruda is for treatment of specific kinds of malignant tumors. Eligible patients must have unresectable mesothelioma and no other treatment options.  How Keytruda Fights Mesothelioma Keytruda is an immune checkpoint inhibitor. It blocks a protein called PD-L1. Mesothelioma cells use PD-L1 to avoid immune system attack. Drugs like Keytruda unmask these hiding cells and make them more vulnerable to treatment.  But not all patients with mesothelioma will … Continue reading FDA Approval of Keytruda will Help Some Mesothelioma Patients »

Second-Line Mesothelioma Treatment with Ramucirumab

second-line mesothelioma treatment

A combination of ramucirumab (CYRAMZA) and gemcitabine creates a promising second-line mesothelioma treatment. New research shows the combination nearly doubled survival in a group of patients whose tumors kept growing with standard therapy.  Italian researchers shared their findings at the virtual annual meeting of ASCO. ASCO is one of the largest gatherings of cancer doctors in the US. First-Line Mesothelioma Treatment Failure For most mesothelioma patients, chemotherapy with Alimta is the first-line treatment. This does keep the cancer in check for some patients. But after a while, mesothelioma tumors almost always come back. Chemotherapy only extends survival by about four months.  Doctors have tested many different approaches to second-line mesothelioma treatment.  Some of the therapies tested are: Additional rounds of … Continue reading Second-Line Mesothelioma Treatment with Ramucirumab »

Promising Data on New Mesothelioma Pill Presented at National Conference

new mesothelioma pill

Doctors researching a new mesothelioma pill presented research on the drug at a national virtual conference in May.  The ASCO conference is one of the most important gatherings of cancer doctors in the country. This year’s online meeting gave them a chance to safely learn about new cancer research. Only the most notable research is presented at the conference. The new mesothelioma pill made the cut because research suggests it can help patients with asbestos cancer live longer.  How the New Medication Works Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Epizyme makes the new mesothelioma pill, called tazemetostat (Tazverik). The oral drug blocks the protein EZH2. This protein inhibits the genes that are supposed to suppress tumor growth. Over-expression of EZH2 has been linked to … Continue reading Promising Data on New Mesothelioma Pill Presented at National Conference »

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