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Asbestos: A possible cure being developed for Mesothelioma

There is no doubt that Mesothelioma is a terrifying and deadly disease, that has been considered to be incurable for many years, but recent research would suggest that there could be light at the end of the tunnel.

What is Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos related diseases. Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause and risk factor for mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that usually starts in the covering of the lungs, this area is known as pleural mesothelioma, but it can also start in the abdominal area known as peritoneal mesothelioma.

Living with mesothelioma is difficult and sufferers will have to learn to cope with their diagnosis, and managing the disease when it reaches an advanced stage.

Is there a cure for Mesothelioma?

At the moment, no cure for this aggressive cancer exists. At present, mesothelioma patients can only hope to improve their prognosis through various treatments, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and experimental therapies tested in clinical trials.

What mesothelioma treatment options exist?

There are currently five primary types of treatment available for mesothelioma:

  • Surgery - Depending on the location and stage of the cancer, and the overall health of the patient, there is a chance that tumors may be able to be removed with a surgical procedure.
  • Experimental Treatment - Clinical trials that test some of the newer therapies like immunotherapy and phototherapy can prove effective if other options are exhausted or not viable.
  • Radiation - This is one of the oldest mesothelioma treatments and radiation techniques can target and shrink tumors to make other treatments more effective.
  • Chemotherapy - The aim of Chemotherapy is to prevent the cancer cells from growing and multiplying throughout the rest of the body.
  • Palliative Treatment - Additional techniques and therapies can treat the symptoms of mesothelioma to help ease patient pain and suffering.

So it appears that the long term outlook for Mesothelioma sufferers is quite bleak, however......

Help could be close at hand!

Recent studies have shown that there is a new and revolutionary vaccine that has been shown to beat Mesothelioma. This certainly sounds promising when you consider that Mesothelioma is frequently refered to as one of the worlds deadliest cancers that is linked to asbestos.

The statistics have shown that in a recent trial, 94 per cent of mesothelioma patients responded well to the new drug which is designed to harness the bodys own immune system to fight the Mesothelioma. A 94 per cent success rate seems very encouraging and although these are preliminary results, they do appear to be rather promising.

The findings from the research

Mesothelioma kills about 3,000 people per annum and the survival rates do not appear to have improved much over recent years. Thirty eight patients were the subject of these trials and 86 per cent experienced significant shrinkage of their tumours.

It was discovered that about 60 per cent of the tumours were reduced by more than 30 per cent and in 30 per cent of the patients, their tumours had shrunk by an average of 80 per cent. Interestingly, one patient showed that the cancer had completely disappeared.

The treatment that was used in these trials has now been granted orphan drug status by the United States drug regulators, the Food and Drug Administration, this essentially means that it can be introduced to the market in a shorter amount of time.

What is an Orphan Drug?

The Orphan Drug Designation program provides orphan status to drugs and biologics which are defined as those intended for the safe and effective treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases and disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States, or that affect more than 200,000 persons, but are not expected to recover the costs of developing and marketing a treatment drug.

The drug used in this trial was delivered by an injection and is made up of a watered down and noninfectious version of the listeria bacteria. The listeria bacteria was engineered to release a protein which is also present on the mesothelioma cancer cells. This effectively causes the immune system to kill the cancer cells along with the bacteria without the risk of infecting the patient with the listeria related illness listeriosis.

Essentially, when the listeria bacteria is killed, the immune response is increased and this kills the cancer tumour. The aim is to put patients in long term remission and the initial findings of this study seem to indicate that this could well be possible.

This research has even shown that the same protein expressed on mesothelioma cells is also present in ovarian, stomach and pancreatic cancers and the trials are now being expanded to see whether the same treatment technique could be used to treat these cancers too.

Only time will tell if Mesothelioma as well as some other cancers will be consistently and successfully treated with this or similar methods, but the outlook does look a lot brighter than other trials that have been conducted recently.

Further Information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 07730 446 224, email us at or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

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