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 »

Could ONCOS-102 Be a New First-Line Mesothelioma Treatment?

first-line mesothelioma treatment

A new first-line mesothelioma treatment has moved a step closer to becoming reality.  New data show that the immunotherapy drug ONCOS-102 continues to look promising, nine months into a Phase I/II clinical trial. The drug was especially helpful to mesothelioma patients who had not yet had any treatment.  Norweigian drug maker Targovax made the announcement earlier this month. ONCOS-102 is an experimental drug based on a modified virus. The virus helps it target mesothelioma cells while leaving healthy cells alone. The latest results show ONCOS-102 helps standard mesothelioma chemotherapy work better. Targovax says the next step will be a larger test of the combination as a first-line mesothelioma treatment.  Clinical Trial of ONCOS-102 The power of ONCOS-102 comes from the … Continue reading Could ONCOS-102 Be a New First-Line Mesothelioma Treatment? »

Curcumin Treatment for Mesothelioma: Research is Encouraging

curcumin treatment for mesothelioma

The research on curcumin treatment for mesothelioma looks promising, but more hard science is needed before doctors can incorporate it into their treatment plans.  That is the message from a new multi-center international review of studies on curcumin for mesothelioma.  Curcumin is a phytochemical that gives the spice turmeric its distinctive yellow color. Phytochemicals are compounds produced by plants. Different phytochemicals help plants fight disease or protect themselves from other threats.  The new review summarizes the research on curcumin treatment for mesothelioma. It suggests that this compound may one day be a standard part of treating this intractable cancer.  What Do We Know About Curcumin? Practitioners of natural medicine have used the curcumin in turmeric to treat disease for hundreds … Continue reading Curcumin Treatment for Mesothelioma: Research is Encouraging »

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