Expert Says Malignant Mesothelioma Research ‘Turned a Corner’ in 2021

mesothelioma research

An internationally-known mesothelioma specialist says 2021 has been one of the best years yet for malignant mesothelioma research, giving patients and their families more reason than ever to be hopeful.  Hedy Lee Kindler, MD, is Director of the University of Chicago Medical Center’s Mesothelioma Program. In a commentary in JCO Oncology Practice, Dr. Kindler says the outlook for mesothelioma sufferers this year is “far brighter than it has been for a very long time.” Dr. Kindler points to several recent advances in malignant mesothelioma research and treatment as reasons for optimism. The FDA approved the second systemic therapy for mesothelioma in late 2020. This year saw five positive mesothelioma clinical trials.  Kindler says these advances suggest that the future may … Continue reading Expert Says Malignant Mesothelioma Research ‘Turned a Corner’ in 2021 »

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Safe Both Before and After Mesothelioma Surgery

immune checkpoint inhibitor

A report presented to an international gathering of lung cancer doctors shows an immune checkpoint inhibitor can make pre-surgery chemotherapy more effective for pleural mesothelioma patients.  The report was presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer. The week-long virtual conference ended yesterday.  Dr. Anne Tsao of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center presented her study results. They show that mesothelioma patients may benefit from an immune checkpoint inhibitor as part of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The same drug may also be helpful as a maintenance therapy after surgery. How Does an Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Work? Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a form of immunotherapy. Immunotherapy treatments work by manipulating the immune … Continue reading Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Safe Both Before and After Mesothelioma Surgery »

Ofev Shelved as a Treatment for Pleural Mesothelioma

new mesothelioma pill

It is official – the VEGF inhibitor Ofev is out of the running as a treatment for pleural mesothelioma. Hopes had been high for this drug after initial results showed a survival advantage. For the last two years, Ofev (nintedanib) was the subject of a large, international clinical trial. But now the leaders of that trial have published their Phase III trial results in The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine. They show that Ofev did not extend survival and is not an effective treatment for pleural mesothelioma. Why Hopes Were High for Ofev Ofev is an oral medication that stops cancer cells from producing a protein called VEGF. VEGF promotes the growth of blood vessels that help mesothelioma tumors grow. VEGF may … Continue reading Ofev Shelved as a Treatment for Pleural Mesothelioma »

Three-Drug Combo May Be New Standard-of-Care for Mesothelioma Treatment

The standard of care for people with malignant pleural mesothelioma may be changing for the first time since pemetrexed (Alimta) was approved more than a decade ago. The 27 member cancer centers of National Comprehensive Cancer Network have amended their mesothelioma treatment guidelines to include the monoclonal antibody bevacizumab (Avastin) as part of first-line therapy for qualified mesothelioma patients. In a recent French study that received worldwide attention, bevacizumab was found to extend mesothelioma survival by 2.7 months when combined with the standard chemotherapy combination of pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin. Although this extension may seem minimal, in a disease that is typically fatal within 4 to 18 months, it is significant. What is Bevacizumbab? Bevacizumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits … Continue reading Three-Drug Combo May Be New Standard-of-Care for Mesothelioma Treatment »

New Drug Regimen Produces “Perfect Response” in Advanced Mesothelioma Case

Just three months after a team of French oncologists published their findings on the mesothelioma survival benefits of adding the drug Avastin (bevacizumab) to standard mesothelioma chemotherapy, Chinese doctors claim they have found a way to further improve the results. The team says they were able to produce a “perfect response” in a 57-year-old man with advanced mesothelioma by following the three-drug chemotherapy combination with a maintenance dose of Alimta (pemetrexed). If their results can be verified in further tests, it could change the prognosis for thousands of mesothelioma patients around the world. Avastin’s Impact on Mesothelioma Outcomes In January 2016, results from the six-year Mesothelioma Avastin Cisplatin Pemetrexed Study (MAPS) were so positive that the French team testing the … Continue reading New Drug Regimen Produces “Perfect Response” in Advanced Mesothelioma Case »

Promising Early Results from Mesothelioma Vaccine Trial

Researchers studying a new immunotherapy vaccine for mesothelioma have released early findings from an ongoing clinical trial and the results are promising. CRS-207 is based on a genetically modified version of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium normally associated with the food borne illness, Listeriosis. The drug was designed to induce a powerful immune response against cells that produce mesothelin, which includes mesothelioma and several other kinds of cancer. In a presentation at the 40th European Society for Medical Oncology in September, lead investigator Raffit Hassan, MD, of the National Cancer Institute said CRS-207 appears to be improving the odds of surviving mesothelioma in inoperable patients. “The data in this trial continue to be impressive in the front-line treatment of mesothelioma,” said … Continue reading Promising Early Results from Mesothelioma Vaccine Trial »

Mesothelioma Vaccine Receives Orphan Drug Approval

woman mesothelioma doctor holds syringe

Mesothelioma patients who are not candidates for surgery may soon have another treatment option. The FDA has granted orphan drug approval to a new cancer vaccine called CRS-207. CRS-207 is manufactured by Aduro Biotech, Inc. and is made from an attenuated (less potent) version of the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. CRS-207 triggers a powerful immune response against cells that produce mesothelin, a tumor-associated antigen produced by several types of cancer, including mesothelioma. Because it works in conjunction with the body’s natural immune responses, CRS-207 is classified as a type of immunotherapy. Aduro Biotech is currently enrolling mesothelioma patients in a Phase 1b clinical trial of CRS-207. They are looking for 40 mesothelioma patients who have inoperable cancer and have not yet … Continue reading Mesothelioma Vaccine Receives Orphan Drug Approval »

Order May Impact Mesothelioma Drug Availability

Mesothelioma patients on certain types of chemotherapy drugs may have easier access to their treatment in the wake of an executive order from President Obama. The President is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “take action” to combat shortages of certain critical medications. On the list of drugs in dwindling supply is the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, one of the most commonly-used drugs to treat mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare but deadly form of cancer triggered by asbestos exposure that affects an estimated 2,500 Americans each year. Cisplatin, in combination with pemetrexed (Alimta) is the FDA approved first line treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma. At a news conference in Washington last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen … Continue reading Order May Impact Mesothelioma Drug Availability »

Immune System May Help Fight Mesothelioma

Proteins and toxins produced by the body’s own immune system could prove to be powerful weapons in the fight against malignant mesothelioma. Manipulating the immune system to fight cancer is known as immunotherapy. One type of immunotherapy is utilizing natural immunotoxins, or cell killers, produced by the white blood cells to attack tumors. Preliminary data shows that a protein produced by these cells called interleukin-4 or IL-4, may have potent cancer-fighting properties. Researchers with the Pacific Heart Lung & Blood Institute in California are planning studies to test the toxin’s value as a way to combat mesothelioma. Their first challenge will be to produce enough IL-4 to conduct tests. When enough of the immunotoxin can be synthesized according to FDA … Continue reading Immune System May Help Fight Mesothelioma »

Study to Test New Three-Drug Treatment for Pleural Mesothelioma

The makers of a VEGF-inhibitor called nintedanib are recruiting patients with unresectable pleural mesothelioma for a Phase III clinical trial of the drug in combination with standard chemotherapy. The multicenter trial sponsored by drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim will eventually include a total of 450 mesothelioma patients, but preliminary results from the first 87 patients look promising.  According to data presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, adding nintedanib to pemetrexed and cisplatin improved the progression-free survival of pleural mesothelioma patients by almost four months over placebo. In a 2016 study that went by the acronym ‘MAPS’, French researchers found that giving another VEGF inhibitor, called bevacizumab, along with pemetrexed and cisplatin lowered the risk of death from malignant mesothelioma … Continue reading Study to Test New Three-Drug Treatment for Pleural Mesothelioma »

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