ONCOS-102 Gets Fast Track Designation for Mesothelioma Treatment

Fast Track designation

An immunotherapy treatment called ONCOS-102 has received fast track designation from the FDA as a pleural mesothelioma therapy. Targovax is a Norweigian company that makes ONCOS-102. The company made the announcement today. It means that ONCOS-102 could be available to help people with pleural mesothelioma sooner.  Fast-track designation is for therapies with the potential to address serious medical conditions that have no good treatments. Right now, there is no cure for pleural mesothelioma and very few viable treatment options. The FDA based its decision on encouraging animal studies and early human trials of ONCOS-102.   Importance of Fast Track Designation ONCOS-102 is an experimental treatment made from a modified virus. The virus allows ONCOS-102 to overcome one of the biggest challenges … Continue reading ONCOS-102 Gets Fast Track Designation for Mesothelioma Treatment »

Diabetes Drug Triggers Mesothelioma Cell Death in New Study

diabetes drug

A new study suggests that the diabetes drug metformin may help keep mesothelioma cells from growing and spreading.  The study is not the first study of metformin for mesothelioma. But this one dives deeper into how the diabetes drug may actually work against asbestos cancer.  Drugs to treat mesothelioma can be expensive. But metformin pills are common and relatively cheap. If the drug proves to be helpful against mesothelioma, it could offer hope to thousands of patients fighting this rare cancer.  Mesothelioma Treatment with a Diabetes Drug? Pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer caused by asbestos. It affects the thin tissue surrounding the lungs.  As cancer grows on this membrane, it prevents the natural movement of the … Continue reading Diabetes Drug Triggers Mesothelioma Cell Death in New Study »

Maintenance Therapy with Gemcitabine Extends Mesothelioma Survival in Dutch Study

maintenance therapy

Dutch researchers say administering maintenance therapy with gemcitabine after chemotherapy may help mesothelioma patients live longer than supportive care alone.  Gemcitabine is an antimetabolite sold under the brand name Gemzar. Oncologists use it to treat several other types of cancer. When cancer cells absorb gemcitabine, they can no longer divide into new cancer cells.  Most mesothelioma patients have chemotherapy as their first-line treatment. If they are healthy enough, they may also have mesothelioma surgery. A maintenance therapy is a treatment that follows the main treatment. It is an effort to maintain the effects of the treatment.  The new Dutch study shows gemcitabine may be a safe and effective choice for maintenance therapy. What Does Maintenance Therapy Mean? Right now, there … Continue reading Maintenance Therapy with Gemcitabine Extends Mesothelioma Survival in Dutch Study »

Spread of Peritoneal Mesothelioma Slows with Apatinib

spread of peritoneal mesothelioma

An investigational drug called apatinib may help stop the growth and spread of peritoneal mesothelioma. Chinese researchers recently tested the VEGF inhibitor on mice infected with human mesothelioma.  They found that the spread of peritoneal mesothelioma slowed way down in the presence of apatinib. The drug worked in the lab and in live mice with few serious side effects. If larger experiments confirm apatinib’s effectiveness, the next step could be trials in human mesothelioma patients.  Apatinib Blocks Blood Vessel Formation Apatinib is also known as Rivoceranib. It keeps cancer cells from using the protein VEGF. VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) allows tumors to spawn new blood vessels. A rich supply of fresh blood fuels the growth and spread of peritoneal … Continue reading Spread of Peritoneal Mesothelioma Slows with Apatinib »

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 »

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