Genomics is a new branch of medicine that involves using a patient’s genetic information to create personalized treatment. New research has begun looking at genetic personalized medicine for mesothelioma.
Students from the University of Montana are developing personalized medicine for mesothelioma.
Personalized Medicine and Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma is a rare rare and aggressive cancer often caused by asbestos exposure. Environmental exposure to asbestos often causes a higher incidence of malignant mesothelioma. There are approximately 2,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the U.S. every year.
Current standard of care involves a multi-targeted drug combination of Pemetrexid and Cisplatin. This is the only FDA approved chemotherapy for mesothelioma.
Chemotherapy is a group of toxic drugs that kill mesothelioma cells by damaging their DNA. This regimen results in regression of tumors in 25% of mesothelioma patients.
Scientists have learned a lot about mesothelioma in the past years through clinical trial research.
They are now looking to develop genetic treatments which target and alter mesothelioma tumor cells. This treatment would be used in combination with other chemotherapies. And it would be tailor-made for the mesothelioma patient.
This treatment would make mesothelioma cancer cells more susceptible to cancer-killing drugs.
Understanding the CRISPR and Genetic Treatments
CRISPR is a method for altering certain genes to help fight cancer. Students from the University of Montana recently used CRISPR to study personalized medicine for mesothelioma. They have taken an important step in targeting mesothelial cells.
It was a small study, but the results are promising. They could have wide-ranging implications for patients fighting malignant mesothelioma.
Associate Professor Dr. Pershouse notes that “the model system will be used to test a small set of front line chemotherapeutic agents.” This study supports using CRISPR-Cas9-based genomics to improve existing mesothelioma treatments.
The CRISPR gene editing technique is still highly experimental. It is not yet available for routine use in the treatment of mesothelioma patients.
Harmon, Abigail, Mark Pershouse, Cooper Parsons, and Caitlin Peaslee. “Investigations of Personalized Medicine in Mesothelioma.” (2022). https://scholarworks.umt.edu/umcur/2022/amposters/18/