Opdivo for Malignant Mesothelioma: Could a Lower Dose Work?

There is new evidence that low doses of the drug Opdivo (nivolumab) may extend lung cancer survival as well as the standard dose—at a much lower cost. The news may have implications for people with the lung-related asbestos cancer, malignant mesothelioma, who are also sometimes treated with Opdivo. Pleural mesothelioma is a hard-to-treat cancer that grows on the lining around the lungs and causes many of the same symptoms as lung cancer. Some evidence has suggested that Opdivo, an immunotherapy drug already approved for the treatment of recurrent lung cancer, may soon become the first drug approved for recurrent mesothelioma, too. Now, a newly-published Korean study finds that patients may not need as much of the drug as originally thought … Continue reading Opdivo for Malignant Mesothelioma: Could a Lower Dose Work? »

Compound Makes Mesothelioma Tumors More Susceptible to Chemo

Swiss cancer researchers may have found a way to get around malignant mesothelioma’s notorious resistance to chemotherapy with an investigational metal-based compound called RAPTA-T. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an incurable and highly aggressive cancer. One of the reasons it is so deadly is that it rarely responds to standard cancer treatments. Even the treatment combination that is considered the standard of care for pleural mesothelioma—pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin—is only effective in about 4 out of 10 patients. But scientists with Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland have discovered a counterintuitive way to ramp up the cancer-killing power of mesothelioma chemotherapy. Creating a “Healthier” Tumor The element on which the RAPTA-T compound is … Continue reading Compound Makes Mesothelioma Tumors More Susceptible to Chemo »

Experimental Mesothelioma Drugs and the New Right-to-Try Law

Legislation signed this week by President Trump could pave the way for mesothelioma patients to access promising experimental treatments—even years before they are approved by the FDA. But not everyone thinks it is a good idea. The “Right to Try” legislation gives patients with terminal illnesses like malignant mesothelioma the right to receive new treatments they would not normally be able to get because they haven’t gone through the FDA’s three-phase testing requirement. Controversy Over New Legislation Although the legislation could make it easier for some patients to access potentially life-saving mesothelioma treatments, it is also not without controversy. Some argue it could even be dangerous. Typically, the FDA requires that all proposed mesothelioma therapies go through three-phases of studies … Continue reading Experimental Mesothelioma Drugs and the New Right-to-Try Law »

Immunotherapy Combo Shows Early Efficacy for Malignant Mesothelioma

AstraZeneca’s immunotherapy drug tremelimumab may still have a chance as a novel mesothelioma treatment, even though an international clinical trial completed last year found that it did not extend mesothelioma survival. In a new study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Italian researchers report that combining the monoclonal antibody with another drug called durvalumab “appeared active” as a second-line mesothelioma treatment with “a good safety profile”. Tremelimumab’s Rocky Start as a Mesothelioma Treatment Hopes were initially high for tremelimumab, a monoclonal antibody that works by binding to the protein CTLA-4 on the surface of white blood cells and preventing it from inhibiting the cells’ cancer-fighting power. The US even granted tremelimumab “orphan drug” status in 2015, a designation designed to … Continue reading Immunotherapy Combo Shows Early Efficacy for Malignant Mesothelioma »

Tea Leaf Cancer Treatment May Have Implications for Mesothelioma Patients

A new type of nanoparticle derived from green tea leaves has been shown to kill lung cancer cells and may one day do the same for pleural mesothelioma. Scientists at Swansea University in Wales in collaboration with researchers at Bharathiar University in India discovered the power of the tea-based nanoparticles—called quantum dots—when attempting to create a less expensive tool for lung cancer imaging. “The main reason we started looking at tea leaves is that chemically synthesised quantum dots cost between £250 and £500 per microgram,” lead researcher Dr. Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu told the BBC. “Whereas organically-derived ones can be manufactured for £10 per microgram, and at the same time they don’t poison healthy cells surrounding the cancer.” Fluorescent Cancer Fighters Nanoparticles … Continue reading Tea Leaf Cancer Treatment May Have Implications for Mesothelioma Patients »

Mesothelioma Patients Recruited to Test Promising New Combo Drug

Patients with malignant mesothelioma who have not gotten better after chemotherapy are being invited to enroll in a clinical trial of a combination drug that could be the future of mesothelioma treatment. The drug is called SEL-403. Developed by Selecta Biosciences, the drug seeks to get around the problem of the body producing antibodies that decrease the effectiveness of certain mesothelioma drugs. What is SLE-403 and How Could it Improve Mesothelioma Treatment? SEL-403 is a combination of two agents, The first is LMB-100, an immunotoxin that targets the  protein mesothelin, which is overproduced by most mesothelioma tumors as well as by several other types of cancer cells. Since LMB-100 targets this particular protein, it is less likely to attack healthy … Continue reading Mesothelioma Patients Recruited to Test Promising New Combo Drug »

Could Drug “Repurposing” Be the Cure for Mesothelioma?

An exciting new use for an old drug is shining a spotlight on the potential for repurposing previously approved drugs to treat malignant mesothelioma faster and more effectively. Malignant mesothelioma is the cancer most closely associated with the mineral asbestos. Although it’s incidence is slowly declining in some parts of the world, mesothelioma continues to rise in many poor countries where asbestos regulation is lax or nonexistent. While there are some exciting new therapies on the horizon there is still no cure for mesothelioma. But some scientists say using existing drugs to treat the asbestos cancer might be the key to curing it sooner rather than later. Parasite Drug the Latest to Show Promise for Mesothelioma The latest repurposed drug … Continue reading Could Drug “Repurposing” Be the Cure for Mesothelioma? »

Experimental Mesothelioma Treatment Produces “Strong Antitumor Activity”

Italian scientists have released some potentially exciting news detailing their experiments with a new kind of treatment for malignant mesothelioma. The combination treatment uses elements of traditional Chinese medicine as well as a natural compound isolated from a marine sponge. Led by chemists from the University of Milan, the experiments involved giving the combination to mice carrying human mesothelioma tumors. While standard chemotherapy has only a moderate impact on most mesothelioma tumors and can trigger a range of potentially serious side effects, the Italian team reports “strong antitumor activity” and “very high tolerability” with the experimental treatment. Fighting Mesothelioma with Natural Compounds Two primary compounds were used to create the new mesothelioma treatment combination. The first is a derivative of … Continue reading Experimental Mesothelioma Treatment Produces “Strong Antitumor Activity” »

Mesothelioma Treatment May Be More Effective Without This Enzyme

An international team of researchers has published data they believe could dramatically boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy for malignant mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is a highly lethal, asbestos-linked cancer. One of the reasons it is so difficult to cure is that it is resistant to all of the standard cancer drugs. Now, scientists with the University of New Mexico, the University of Kansas, and Semmelweis University in Hungary say they managed to make mesothelioma cells much more susceptible to chemotherapy drugs in the lab by also administering a drug designed to inhibit cellular expression of an enzyme called AXL. Enzyme “Protects” Mesothelioma Cells from Chemotherapy AXL is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor expressed on the surface of cells. It is one of … Continue reading Mesothelioma Treatment May Be More Effective Without This Enzyme »

Long-Term Mesothelioma Survival with Mistletoe Extract

Mesothelioma researchers are calling for more study of compounds extracted from European mistletoe after a German pleural mesothelioma patient survived for more than four years with no other treatment. Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Although many different types of new mesothelioma treatments are under investigation, there is no cure. An Alternative Mesothelioma Treatment? Most mesothelioma patients receive some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. But a new report in the Journal of Thoracic Disease suggests that long-term mesothelioma survival might be possible with an alternative treatment modality called viscum album extracts (VAE). VAE is extracted from the European mistletoe plant and is known to stimulate the immune system, downregulate cancer genes, and inhibit the … Continue reading Long-Term Mesothelioma Survival with Mistletoe Extract »

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