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Articles Posted in Mesothelioma Medical

A recently published Japanese study conducted by university oncologists shows improved outcomes for certain mesothelioma patients who undergo near-infrared irradiation treatment used in combination with a cancer-targeting compound. The experiment, which was conducted on laboratory mice, as well as human cells with malignant mesothelioma found that near-infrared photoimmunotherapy was an effective and low-risk method for killing cancer cells without harming the surrounding tissues.

Conducted by Nagoya University, the treatment on the subjects utilized a cancer-targeting antibody compound, designed to a specific structure on the cancer cells, and a photo-absorber called IR700. When the near-infrared light is shone on the cancer-infected part of the body, the antibody compound aggregates on the membranes of the tumor cells, which ruptures the cells and kills the tumor.

“The lungs and chest cavity contain a large amount of air and are thus very good at effectively transmitting near-infrared light,” says Kazuhide Sato of Nagoya University. “NIR-PIT is a safe phototherapy option that can target a region of interest. The antibody-IR700 conjugate is also non-toxic to the body in the absence of near-infrared light irradiation. We thus thought that NIR-PIT could be an effective strategy for controlling localized MPM.”

A recent study examining a new therapy in an emerging cancer treatment known as T-cell therapy has shown positive results, according to an executive with the clinical-stage immunotherapy company that developed the treatment. Developed by TCR2 Therapeutics Inc., TC-210 TRuC-T cell products were given to five mesothelioma cancer patients who took part in the study. The results showed a median reduction range from the sum of the diameters of the tumors of 42%.

“We are delighted that our very first dose of TC-210 induced consistent tumor regression and clinical benefit in heavily pre-treated cancer patients,” said Garry Menzel, Ph.D., of TCR2 Therapeutics. “There are very few options for patients with solid tumors and those expressing mesothelin represent a significant frontier of unmet medical need. While these are early data requiring further study, we are encouraged by the potential of our TRuC-T cells as we continue to enroll and treat patients with the goal of quickly finding a recommended Phase 2 dose for TC-210.”

According to the research company, the primary focus of the Phase 1 portion of the study on TC-210 was to “define the safety profile of TC-210 in patients whose tumors overexpress mesothelin and to determine the recommended Phase 2 dose (RP2D).” One of the key clinical findings from the study on the five patients found that TC-210 was generally well tolerated by the group.

A recent analysis published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology determined that peritoneal mesothelioma patients who underwent surgery had a far better survival rate compared to those who did not have surgical intervention to treat their cancer. The study analyzed the survival rates of over 2,000 patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma between 2003 and 2014 and found that for those who underwent “radical” surgery, the survival period was up to five times longer than those who did not.

Examining the data, the study found that about half of the patients did not undergo any kind of surgery to treat their peritoneal mesothelioma cancer, and had an average survival rate of about seven months after diagnosis. On the other hand, those who underwent radical surgery, about 34% of those looked at, had an average survival rate of just over three years. Another group, which underwent a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, had an average survival rate of just under three and a half years.

According to the study, prior to the turn of the century, the average life expectancy of a patient diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma was less than a year. The study recommends that doctors suggest surgery to their newly diagnosed patients who are able to undergo such procedures, in order to extend their lives.

A recently published study from the Netherlands appears to indicate that a combination of a pair of immunotherapy drugs can help improve the prognosis of mesothelioma patients with tumors that are not able to be removed through surgery. The experiment, named checkmate 743, compared the use of first-line nivolumab and ipilimumab versus platinum-based chemotherapy in a group of over 600 mesothelioma cancer patients, and showed significant tumor shrinkage for a large portion of the participants who were given the two-drug combination.

Conducted by The Netherlands Cancer Institute and The University of Leiden, in Amsterdam, the study showed a two year survival rate in 41% of the 303 participants given the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab, contrasted with a 27% survival rate of the 302 patients  undergoing platinum-based chemotherapy. For many decades, chemotherapy has been the standard of care for mesothelioma patients diagnosed with tumors that cannot be operated on or otherwise surgically removed.

“CheckMate 743 met its primary endpoint of statistically improved OS with nivolumab + ipilimumab vs standard of care chemotherapy in first-line treatment of patients with mesothelioma,” said Paul Baas, M.D., who presented the study’s findings at The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer conference. “These clinically meaningful data represent the first positive phase 3 trial of immunotherapy in first-line MPM and should be considered as a new standard of care.”

A recently published study by Japanese researchers appears to show that a novel type of cancer immunotherapy helped shrink tumors in lab mice, which could bode as a promising treatment for mesothelioma cancer and other serious types of cancers. The study examined the use of near-infrared photoimmunotherapy, a type of technology that uses a chemical to make some cells more sensitive to light and then targets the cancer cells with focused light beams.

Through the course of their study, the Japanese team exploited certain proteins which mesothelioma tumors overexpress. By targeting these proteins with the photoimmunty treatments, researchers were able to shrink the size of the mesothelioma tumors in the mice studied. Furthermore, when the tumor cells exploded, the lab subject’s immune system was able to identify the remaining cancer cell tissues as foreign bodies and attack them in response to destroy the cancer.

Researchers believe that by using a combination of surgery to remove the tumor and photoimmunotherapy to destroy remaining tumor cells, doctors can make great strides in treating cancer. While surgery and chemotherapy have been the traditional methods used to treat mesothelioma, various types of immunotherapy have shown great promise to treat mesothelioma and other forms of aggressive cancers.

A recent study published by an international team of researchers examined the safety and efficacy of radiation treatments for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in pleural lining of their lungs, known as pleural mesothelioma. In their study, the radiation oncology experts determined that proton therapy for mesothelioma cancer of the lungs may be a safer alternative to standard radiotherapy using photons to kill the tumor cells in the patient’s organs.

Commissioned on behalf of the International Particle Therapy Co-operative Group (PTCOG) Thoracic Subcommittee, the study outlines that radiation therapy for mesothelioma “remains challenging, as normal tissue toxicity limits the amount of radiation that can be safely delivered to the pleural surfaces, especially radiation dose to the contralateral lung.” What this means is that patients can only tolerate only so much of the radiation treatment to kill tumor cells before the healthy tissue surrounding the cancer also becomes affected.

According to their analysis, the researchers found that proton therapy resulted in more healthy tissue being spared from the harmful side effects of radiation therapy. As compared to photon radiation therapy, patients require a much more dramatic reduction in the dose of the treatment to surrounding tissue, which results in better outcomes for that healthy tissue. The researchers note that changes to the patient’s condition, with respect to migration of the disease to other organs in the body, could present challenges to providing the optimal dose of proton therapy to the patient.

A recent study by U.S. researchers has found that despite projections, pleural mesothelioma diagnosis rates would decline early this century, the data analyzed over a 10-year period suggests that diagnosis rates have remained steady. Fortunately, the data looked at also suggests that survival rates of pleural mesothelioma patients have improved and those with this form of the cancer are living longer lives than those in previous generations.

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The disease commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma cancers which affect the lungs are known as pleural mesothelioma, as they affect the pleural linings of the lungs.

In their study, researchers at the Taussig Cancer Center at the Cleveland Clinic looked at data from almost 21,000 pleural mesothelioma from 2004 to 2014 provided to them by the National Cancer Database. Some of the main focus of the study looked into the incidence rates, types of treatment available, and survival rates of pleural mesothelioma patients across diverse demographics of gender, age, income, and medical history.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted final approval of a new brand of a chemotherapy drug already in use by oncologists to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma and advanced stage non small cell lung cancer. Starting in February 2020, doctors will be allowed to prescribe Pemfexy, a type of chemotherapy drug called pemetrexed, and provide an alternative treatment to the name brand drug Alimta.

The new chemotherapy works as an injection, which is combined with cisplatin for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma whose disease is unresectable or who are otherwise ineligible for curative surgery in combination with cisplatin. This new type of pemetrexed injection was already tentatively approved for use by the FDA in 2017 after the agency determined that the drug met all required quality, safety, and efficacy standards.

However, patients in the United States were not eligible to receive the treatment because the company that holds the patent for the standard pemetrexed treatment held patent protections on the product. Now, with a settlement agreement between the two sides, Eagle pharmaceuticals will be able to bring limited supplies of Pemfexy beginning in February 2020 and uncapped entry in April 2020.

A recent Duke University study published in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology examined hundreds of women diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma, looking to an analyzing trends among the group which could eventually shed light on new treatment and detection methods. One of the key findings in the mesothelioma cancer study found that women with objective markers were diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and that their average age of diagnosis was older compared to those diagnosed with another common type of the cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma.

The mesothelioma cancer study, which was a continuation study of an ongoing study by Duke University, examined 354 female mesothelioma patients of which the overwhelmingly majority were known to have been exposed to asbestos. The authors state that this exposure came from household contact, primarily from a family member who would have been exposed to asbestos fibers in an industrial setting. Of those studied, 275 patients had a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis which corresponds to linings of tissue surrounding the lungs and 79 cases were those of peritoneal mesothelioma which affects tissue linings around the abdominal cavity.

The researchers found that survival rates were longer for those with epithelial subtypes of peritoneal mesothelioma, though their average age of diagnosis was younger at 52 years of age compared to 62 years of age for those diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Further, researchers found that tremolite asbestos was a common form of the mineral which the patients were exposed to, followed by amphibole asbestos – considered one of the most deadly forms of the mineral. Some of these types of asbestos are found in cosmetics products such as talcum powder.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it will host a public forum discussing the methods used to test for asbestos fibers in talc-based products, as well as the terminology and criteria that can be used to measure the carcinogen in consumer products. During that forum, the FDA will discuss preliminary recommendations from the Interagency Working Group on Asbestos in Consumer Products (IWGAC)—an interagency working group formed in 2018 to support the development of standardized testing methods for asbestos and other harmful particles.

The purpose of the IWGAC is to address the terminology and definitions of asbestos, recommend improvements for measuring asbestos in talc-based products, and recommend testing standards to test these products. The FDA forum comes two-years after the agency first began investigating reports of asbestos in talcum powder products, during which time it tested 50 such products and confirmed the presence of asbestos in some. One of those examinations in October 2019 revealed the presence of asbestos fibers in a lot of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which caused the company to voluntarily recall 33,000 bottles of the iconic product.

Specifically, the IWGAC recommends adopting the term elongate mineral particles (EMP) to be “any mineral particle with a minimum aspect ratio of 3:1,” as to resolve ambiguity and disagreement of asbestos vs non-asbestos identification. Testing laboratories report all EMP having a length of over 500 nm and that testing methods specify reportable EMP identified as certain types of asbestos.

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