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New Self-Administered Inhaled Gene Therapy Linked to Mesothelioma Survival

New Self-Administered Inhaled Gene Therapy Linked to Mesothelioma Survival

A team of doctors in Japan have developed a new oral inhaled gene therapy for the treatment of mesothelioma. This is a new gene therapy that mesothelioma patients can self-administer, much like an asthma inhaler.

There’s new evidence that therapies that prevent cancer cells from forming new blood vessels may offer a better way to approach malignant pleural mesothelioma. Gene therapy has attracted attention in recent years. A new study suggests that inhalable gene drugs are effective treatments for asbestos-induced malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Gene Therapy Treatments

Mesothelioma is the most deadly of several diseases caused by asbestos exposure, including lung cancer and asbestosis. Most people who develop mesothelioma live less than a year after diagnosis. It is most common in people who have lived or worked near asbestos.

Although the disease is resistant to most conventional cancer therapies, a new report published by doctors at the Hyogo College of Medicine in Japan suggests that a new inhaled gene therapy that prevents blood vessel growth, known as angiogenesis, may be most effective.

Like other types of cancer, rapidly growing mesothelioma tumors need a growing supply of new blood vessels to support them. If they fail to produce the proteins that give rise to this blood vessel growth, the tumor’s growth will slow down or stop.

A New Easier Method of Treatment

“We expect inhalable gene drugs to present a novel gene therapy agent for lung cancer that patients can self-administer,” writes senior author Dr. Akinobu Gotoh of the Hyogo College of Medicine.

Current gene therapy drugs are invasive and require intravenous or local administration through a needle. There is a considerable burden on the patient. This new inhaled gene therapy would work much like an asthma inhaler and could be self-administered by the patient.

The team developed an orally inhalable gene drug by combining tumor suppressor genes with an inhalant powder. This powder can deliver active ingredients directly to the lung in a noninvasive manner.

The new research is published in Nature Scientific Reports.


Ichikawa, Misa, Naomi Muramatsu, Wataru Matsunaga, Takahiro Ishikawa, Tomoyuki Okuda, Hirokazu Okamoto, and Akinobu Gotoh. “Effects of inhalable gene transfection as a novel gene therapy for non-small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Scientific Reports 12, no. 1 (2022): 1-8. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-12624-4

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