New Precision Therapy Drugs May Help Mesothelioma Patients
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento asbestosis and mesothelioma lawyer. Cancer research is reaching new heights as more drugs are becoming available. Until recently, treatment for mesothelioma has relied on surgery, radiation, chemo, and combinations of such therapies. New target precision therapies are increasingly being added to help treat mesothelioma patients. Let’s look at some of these new advances in mesothelioma therapy.
What Is Precision Therapy?
Precision therapy is a way of targeting cancerous cells by interfering with their growth and preventing their spread. Cancers rely on genetic changes to grow, and scientists are learning a great deal about cancer’s DNA. Tumors are being analyzed for genetic mutations associated with specific cancers. Precision therapy targets the mutations to stop or slow down cancer growth.
Ways Precision Therapy Works
Targeted therapy is used to interfere with specific growth proteins on cancer cells that help them divide and spread, augment immune function or stop blood vessel formation. There are several mechanisms that are used:
- Immune cells: The body’s immune cells are often unable to destroy cancer cells because they don’t see them. Some precision therapies identify and mark cancer cells enabling immune cell detection while others can boost the immune system.
- Blood vessel inhibition: If a tumor wants to grow, it needs a blood supply to support it. Tumors send out signals to the body requesting blood vessels to form. This process is called angiogenesis. New precision therapies stop the formation of new blood vessels with angiogenesis inhibitors. Left without a blood supply, the tumor will be unable to become larger. In addition, if a tumor already exists with its own blood supply, this drug will destroy the vessels, and the tumor will be forced to shrink.
- Cancer growth suppression: Surface proteins on the cancer cells control growth. They do not require a stimulus to do so, accounting for cancer’s rapid and consistent growth. Instead, the surface proteins undergo changes, stimulating division and growth. Precision therapy is able to block the changes, stopping the growth and the cancer cell progression is halted or slowed.
How Cancer Cell Growth Suppression Works
In 2016, Intermountain Precision Genomics in St. George, Utah, announced that certain genetic mutations were found in mesothelioma cells that were similar to those found in other types of cancer. In the years between 2010 and 2015, scientists used precision therapy on 72 patients with late-stage cancers to see if the therapy could interrupt their growth. The group that received the targeted therapy had 22.9 weeks without progression compared to 12 weeks for the patients who did not receive the precision therapy. The study cited above was restricted to patients who had end-stage cancer of the lung, stomach, bladder, colon, and pancreas.
Mutations in Mesothelioma DNA
Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center found ten mutations in mesothelioma DNA some of which were shared by other cancers. One mutation is susceptible to attack by a drug now known as AZD5363. While the drug was not developed for mesothelioma, it works on a gene that has mutated called PIK3CA found in the walls of some mesothelioma tumors. This drug has already been tested in a Phase I clinical trial on 90 patients with other types of cancer that have solid tumors. One doctor, associated with Intermountain Precision Genomics, said that the hope is to turn mesothelioma into a chronic disease. While still in the early stages, this hope may end up being a reality.
Sacramento Asbestosis and Mesothelioma Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento asbestosis and mesothelioma lawyer. If you have mesothelioma from working with asbestos, you need help to pay medical bills and compensate for the wages you are no longer able to earn. Reach out to me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, friendly and free advice.
I’ve helped numerous individuals in the Sacramento and Northern California area receive the compensation they deserve for catastrophic injuries and a variety of accidents.
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