Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new medication in the treatment of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and melanoma. The drug, called Keytruda and manufactured by Merck, has shown positive results in the treatment of patients with mesothelioma. This is important, as the treatment options for mesothelioma are currently severely limited.
An individual may develop mesothelioma after prolonged exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, this was common for much of the twentieth century, as up until the 1980s asbestos was used extensively in numerous products. Asbestos becomes dangerous when microscopic fibers are disturbed and released into the air. When breathed in, these fibers may remain in the lungs for many years before serious issues become apparent. Construction workers, carpenters, and shipyard workers are just some of the individuals who were placed at risk due to their occupations.
New Drug May Help Mesothelioma Victims
Keytruda attacks and kills cancer cells by targeting a protein called Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). The drug will treat patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer in which the disease has progressed despite the use of alternative treatments. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, in 2015, it is estimated that there will be 1,658,370 new cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States. Additionally, an estimated 589,430 people will die due to the disease.