Immunotherapy as Treatment for Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that can impact almost any part of the body. However, the lungs appear to be particularly susceptible. Often, people develop mesothelioma after being exposed to a toxic chemical, such as asbestos, in their home or place of work.
Typically, the treatment of mesothelioma involves some combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of doctors, countless families are still impacted by mesothelioma every year. Now, it appears there might be a new form of treatment called immunotherapy that may provide hope to individuals and families who have been diagnosed with this deadly disease.
What is Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is a type of medical treatment that leverages the function of the body’s own immune system. When the body is attacked by a virus, bacteria, or other types of a pathogen, the immune system responds to the invader and works to eliminate it. The immune system works by generating antibodies that have been designed to bind to specific proteins on the surface (or in the interior) of bacterial or viral cells. Then, the white blood cells of the immune system hunt for these antibodies and destroy the invading cells to which they attach.
Medical researchers have discovered that they can leverage this process to target cancer cells, as well. In the research lab, scientists have been working to create antibodies that bind to cancerous cells, such as those in mesothelioma. Then, when the antibodies bind to cancerous cells, the immune system will hunt them down and eliminate them.
One of the main benefits of this treatment option is that it only kills cancerous cells. Chemotherapy, radiation, and even surgery often eliminate healthy cells along with cancer cells. With immunotherapy, the drugs target cancerous cells specifically. By leaving healthy cells untouched, the potential side effects are minimized.
Movement Into Clinical Trials
Immunotherapy drugs are still an active area of research. Many of these drugs are still under development. Recently, a clinical trial was completed using an immunotherapy drug called Pembrolizumab. In the experiment, researchers treated individuals who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma with Pembrolizumab. Their goal was to compare the outcomes of patients treated with immunotherapy to the results of those who were treated with traditional chemotherapy.
The results of the trial were mixed. Individuals who were treated with Pembrolizumab responded much better to this treatment option than chemotherapy. This means that more patients showed clinical improvement with the novel immunotherapy drug. Unfortunately, the survival rates between the two groups were similar. Researchers noted that many patients who were treated with Pembrolizumab were also treated with chemotherapy and had suffered a relapse.
Watch YouTube Video: Improve Treatment Options for Patients with Mesothelioma. Health providers at UCLA are using an innovative approach to treat patients with mesothelioma.
This clinical trial was only the first of many that are planned for novel immunotherapy drugs. Pembrolizumab can be useful in the treatment of mesothelioma. However, more research is needed. The response rate to Pembrolizumab is high, but it did not show any survival benefit when compared to chemotherapy, which is the most crucial clinical criterion.
More information is needed regarding this and other immunotherapy agents. The hypothesis is clear, and immunotherapy has proven effective in other diseases. As more research is conducted in this field, new treatment options will provide hope to those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other deadly diseases.
Sacramento Mesothelioma Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Mesothelioma Lawyer. Immunotherapy has the potential to help countless individuals who have been impacted by mesothelioma. If someone you care about has been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to the negligence of another person or entity, please reach out to me today at (916) 921-6400 & (800) 404-5400 to receive free, friendly legal advice.
I am honored to be a valued member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum & in the Top One Percent. Professionals inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum have both negotiated settlements and/or have received trial verdicts valued at more than $1 million.
Citation of Photograph: The image used at the top of this post was located first on Pixabay.com It has been reproduced at this site with permission under the Creative Commons License
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