New & Innovative Mesothelioma TreatmentsDecember 12, 2017
Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery have been the standard treatments for mesothelioma for decades. While medical professionals and researchers continue to search for a cure for mesothelioma, their investigations are uncovering new treatment options that could improve patients’ prognoses and quality of life.
The following presents some of these emerging therapies that could be the future of mesothelioma treatment.
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The Future of Mesothelioma Treatment
The latest innovations in mesothelioma treatments are primarily aimed at fighting the life-threatening complications, improving responses to chemotherapy and preventing the cancer from coming back after treatment. Some of these innovations include:
- Biological drugs – Also known as biologics or biological agents, these drugs are derived from living organisms and can include antibodies, vaccines and certain types of proteins (like interferons and interleukins). These drugs are used to combat the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy while strengthening the immune system with natural cancer-fighting agents.
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT) – This treatment involves injecting a light-activated drug into a patient’s bloodstream. The malignant cells absorb more of this drug than health cells. Following absorption, a special laser is shined on specific areas of the body, resulting in a chemical reaction that kills the malignant cells that have absorbed the drug. While PDT can be used before surgery, it has also reportedly been used during surgery (to identify and remove the cancerous cells).
- Gene therapy – This treatment can include repairing, replacing or changing the genetic code of genes that have been damaged by asbestos. Some gene therapy clinical trials are even testing the possibility of altering blood cells so they are able to target and shrink the size of malignant cells.
- Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) – This innovative chemotherapy treatment involves delivering heated, high-concentrated doses of chemotherapy directly to malignant cells (rather than circulating chemotherapy drugs throughout the body). The intent is to use HIPEC following surgery to target and destroy any remaining cancerous cells that surgeons were not able to extract.
- Intensity–modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – This therapy allows doctors to administer adjustable levels of radiation so doses can be accurately matched to tumors while minimizing radiation exposure to healthy cells.
- New medications – Researchers are investigating various new drugs for the treatment of mesothelioma. For example, disulfiram (a drug used to treat alcoholism) has been reported to enhance the body’s receptiveness to chemotherapy and radiation. Cediranib, another medication being studied for treating mesothelioma, may reportedly shrink the size of tumors.
In addition to exploring cutting-edge treatment options, researchers are also focusing on improving the methods for diagnosing mesothelioma, as the earlier this condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatments can be administered – and the better the prognoses tend to be.
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