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 »

Scrubbed Trial May Not Be the End for Mesothelioma Drug

The makers of the once-promising experimental mesothelioma drug defactinib have announced that they will stop a clinical trial of the drug early because, by itself, it does not appear to help. But this may not be the end of the road for defactinib in mesothelioma treatment. Defactinib (VS-6063) had been the leading compound for its manufacturer, Boston-based Verastem. While standard mesothelioma chemotherapy drugs like pemetrexed, cisplatin, gemcitabine and vinorelbine can sometimes shrink mesothelioma tumors, they also increase the percentage of stem cells which can give rise to new cancer. Defactinib was designed to help keep malignant mesothelioma patients from relapsing by inhibiting a crucial signaling pathway (FAK) inside the stem cells. Early studies were encouraging, but a recent review of … Continue reading Scrubbed Trial May Not Be the End for Mesothelioma Drug »

Orphan Drug Improves Mesothelioma Survival in Phase II Trial

T. Researchers with the National Cancer Institute report that, when administered along with the traditional chemotherapy, amatuximab appears to be able to enhance the effectiveness of treatment and extend survival. Amatuximab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the glycoprotein mesothelin. Many types of cancer overexpress this protein, including pleural mesothelioma. Studies have found that mesothelin plays a role in cell adhesion which allows tumors to take hold and ‘seed’ new tumors in other parts of the body. By binding to the mesothelin on the surface of mesothelioma cells, amatuximab prevents this adhesion and triggers an immune response against tumors. It was granted orphan drug status in the U.S. in 2012 for its potential to improve mesothelioma treatment. It received the … Continue reading Orphan Drug Improves Mesothelioma Survival in Phase II Trial »

Mesothelioma in Massachusetts

While mesothelioma is a problem in all states, the specific incident rate for Massachusetts is 1.3 / 100,000. This is above the average rate of 1.1 / 100,000. Click on the tabs below to find mesothelioma and asbestos research in MA, recent MA mesothelioma-related court cases, mesothelioma specialists in MA and potential asbestos hotspots in Massachusetts.

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