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Articles Posted in Mesothelioma Medical

According to the CDC, one factor that makes a person more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 is the presence of an underlying medical condition. Because of weakened immune systems, cancer patients are among those at high risk of serious complications from a coronavirus infection. Mesothelioma, to be specific, is an extremely aggressive form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure and with limited survival despite systemic therapy. Fighting mesothelioma depletes a patient’s energy and nutrients, and this worsens a patient’s body’s ability to fight COVID-19. Mesothelioma treatments can also weaken a person’s immune system and increase the risk of COVID-19 complications. Further, COVID-19 is much more deadly in those individuals over the age of 65, and most mesothelioma patients are seniors. Most mesothelioma patients are seniors because, from the first asbestos exposure, it can take decades for an individual to be diagnosed with mesothelioma. If, for example, an individual gets exposed to asbestos for the first time at the age of 20, they might end up being diagnosed with mesothelioma even at the age of 70.

Recent studies have found that for every five patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) one contracted COVID-19. According to one particular study presented at the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer, approximately one in five patients with MPM at a Barcelona hospital contracted the coronavirus during the pandemic. To study the effect of COVID-19 infection on individuals with MPM, Dr. Susana Cedres of Vall d’ Hebron University Hospital and the Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain, analyzed medical records of 38 patients with MPM. Dr. Susana gathered clinical data such as comorbidities, oncological background, demographics, and COVID-19 illness status. Upon completion of the study, Dr. Cedres found that;

  • Of the 38 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma at the institution in this pandemic era, seven (18%) were diagnosed with COVID-19 infection by a positive RT.PCR and

People suffering from mesothelioma usually go through a lot of difficulties. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs after asbestos exposure. For starters, mesothelioma treatment can be costly. Victims of mesothelioma and their loved ones usually spend a lot of money from the time of diagnosis through post-treatment care. Some spend thousands of dollars, and, others, even more. The amount of money a victim of mesothelioma spends generally depends on their treatment plan, health care provider, and other factors.

Secondly, mesothelioma often causes pain, which is usually one of the early signs of mesothelioma. As fluids build up and tumors grow, it usually becomes difficult for a victim to digest food, breathe, and even cough without experiencing pain. Additionally, fluid buildup, which leads to increased pressure, can also cause pain in a victim’s abdomen or chest.

Severe pain can interfere with the day-to-day life of a mesothelioma patient. For instance, pain can prevent a patient from working or participating in other everyday activities, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. The day-to-day lives of families of patients also suffer when pain is involved.

Even though mesothelioma and lung cancer are both deadly cancers, they are different diseases. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining around the lungs and chest when a person inhales asbestos fibers. Asbestos, which is the only known cause of cancerous mesothelioma, is a naturally occurring mineral. The mineral was used as a building material before people became aware of its hazardous properties. Asbestos leads to mesothelioma because it causes changes at a cellular level. This toxic substance triggers inflammation, scarring, and damage that can cause cancer. Usually, when asbestos is disturbed, it releases tiny fibers into the air. When these fibers are inhaled, they get stuck in the pleural lining of the lungs and chest. Asbestos exposure is most prevalent in industrial workplaces.

On the other hand, lung cancer develops in the lungs and not in the lining of the lungs. Unlike mesothelioma, which has one known cause (asbestos), lung cancer has many known causes. Nonetheless, even though lung cancer often occurs because of other factors, the reality is that asbestos exposure can also cause lung cancer. When asbestos fibers get stuck in a person’s lungs, they can develop lung cancer.

After symptoms that suggest a serious lung problem start emerging, an individual might think they have lung cancer, when in fact they have mesothelioma, or vice versa, because both diseases can present a similar set of symptoms. Nonetheless, a history of being exposed to asbestos fibers is what physicians look for when trying to identify mesothelioma specifically. Some of the symptoms people with mesothelioma or lung cancer experience include;

One of the country’s largest railroad companies recently made headlines when it filed a lawsuit against a Montana health clinic that provides aid to asbestos and mesothelioma cancer victims harmed by a now shuttered vermiculite mine, and the railway company itself for the two entities’ roles in spreading carcinogenic asbestos fibers across the area. The company, BNSF Railway, is suing the Center for Asbestos Related Disease, located in Libby, Montana, claiming that the clinic is defrauding the federal government by conducting what the railway calls unnecessary tests and is relying on supposedly inaccurate radiological studies to diagnose asbestos victims in the town and surrounding area.

Though only made public recently, the suit was originally filed back in 2019. The claim asked the federal government to investigate and prosecute the Center for Asbestos Related Disease for fraud against the taxpayer. Fortunately, the federal government declined to intervene on behalf of BNSF Railway, leaving the company to carry the claim on itself under the federal whistleblower statute that allows private entities to bring claims on behalf of the government and receive a portion of any recovery for itself.

The Center for Asbestos Related Disease is one of the few healthcare providers in the country that commits itself to study the health effects of the particular form of asbestos found in the vermiculite mines of Libby. To that end, the Center for Asbestos Related Disease is the leading provider of asbestos-related diagnoses and healthcare to the residents of the small town which found itself at the epicenter of one of the worst environmental cleanups in the United States.

British researchers recently published findings in genomics studies which used artificial intelligence to help study mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to carcinogenic asbestos fibers. The hope of the findings is that the research and analysis could help improve patient outcomes and improve the prognosis for those who are diagnosed with the as of right now incurable disease, and potentially help find answers to a cure for mesothelioma.

The research undertaken by the University of Leicester Mesothelioma Research Programme reveals that, using AI analysis of DNA-sequenced cancer cells, the disease evolves along similar and repeated paths between individuals. Those paths predict the overall aggressiveness and could show possible individualized therapies which could be applied to help fight the disease.

Professor Dean Fennell, Chair of Thoracic Medical Oncology at the University of Leicester and Director of the Leicester Mesothelioma Research Programme, said “It has long been appreciated that asbestos causes mesothelioma, however, how this occurs remains a mystery. Using AI to interrogate genomic ‘big data’, this initial work shows us that mesotheliomas follow ordered paths of mutations during development and that these so-called trajectories predict not only how long a patient may survive, but also how to better treat cancer – something Leicester aims to lead on internationally through clinical trial initiatives.”

A Norwegian biotechnology company recently announced that the 21-month followup data from its clinical stage immunotherapy trials revealed promising results for mesothelioma patients who are also undergoing chemotherapy to treat their rare and deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The results of the study show that at least half of the patients who took the company’s immuno-oncology drug while undergoing chemotherapy are still alive, compared to an average survival rate of just over a year for those who did not.

Targovax ASA’s phase I/II trial of its ONCOS-102 aims to assess the safety, immune activation and clinical efficacy of the drug taken in combination with a patient’s chemotherapy regimen compared to those who underwent the standard chemotherapy only. The study examined 31patients in total, with 20 receiving the ONCOS-102 immunotherapy drug which targets hard to kill mesothelioma tumor cells. “It is most encouraging that survival continues to track so well in the ONCOS-102-treated first line group,” said Targovax’s chief medical officer . “We have earlier seen and reported how ONCOS-102 drives profound remodeling of the tumor microenvironment. It is now becoming clear that this is translating into long-term survival benefit.”

Mesothelioma has a latency period of anywhere from 20 to 50 years, which means decades can pass after exposure to asbestos before doctors are able to make a diagnosis, leaving many patients with diminished treatment options. Oftentimes, surgery is not an option to kill mesothelioma tumors, and patients are left with only chemotherapy as an option, which can take a toll on the individual’s overall health.

The National Cancer Institute recently awarded a $2.5 million grant to a Baylor University medical professor to develop clinical tests that would enable doctors to determine the likelihood of a patient responding to immunotherapy regimens before the patient receives the treatment, which would save certain patients from immune-related adverse events. In recent years, immunotherapy has become a viable treatment to prolong the lives of patients with mesothelioma, but about half of those patients experience adverse events and the research being conducted could potentially identify those likely to have bad outcomes.

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, which was once commonly used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications as an insulation and fire-retardant material. The disease commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding the lungs and heart, but can also affect the tissues surrounding the abdominal cavity before spreading to other parts of the body.

Because mesothelioma has a latency period of anywhere from 20 to 50 years, patients are often left with diminished treatment options by the time the cancer is detected by a physician. As a result, surgery to remove tumors is not an option and patients must turn to radiation treatments to fight the disease, which can harm tissues surrounding the mesothelioma tumors. However, researchers continue to make progress on immunotherapies, which teach the body to use its own disease fighting mechanisms against mesothelioma tumors.

Researchers at a Scottish university are developing a new laser system that will help physicians distinguish between cancer tumor cells and healthy tissues, and allow them to remove the cancerous cells while leaving healthy surrounding tissue intact. To help further this research, the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has bestowed the project’s leader, Prof. Jonathan Shephard a 1.2 GBP grant and will further collaborate with the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust to develop the new system for brain cancers.

As one consultant surgeon at the Leeds trust noted, “the precision of a laser combined with imaging to accurately discriminate cancer from normal tissue will greatly enhance the ability of surgeons to completely remove cancers with minimal side-effects for patients.”

According to Shephard, the “laser system can remove cancer cells in a way that restricts damage to the surrounding, healthy cells – within the width of a human hair. Because the laser pulses are so short, there is no time for heat to burn the surrounding tissue, as happens with current surgical tools.” Shepherd’s team is also working to develop a flexible, optical fibre system that can be used to target and remove cancer cells on an even smaller scale than the current technology allows.

A recently published study by researchers at the University of Hawaii has uncovered a possible link between carrying a particular genetic mutation and developing mesothelioma, particularly if the individual is exposed to asbestos fibers. The research is part of ongoing research by oncologists and geneticists into the role that genetics may play in developing the rare form of cancer and creating personalized treatment plans for patients in order to prolong their rates of survival.

According to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, individuals who inherit a pair of mutated so-called “BLM” genes are more likely to develop mesothelioma cancer. People with the BLM gene are often affected by Bloom Syndrome, which exhibits such characteristics as a short stature, rash over the nose and cheeks, and an immune deficiency. Approximately one in every 900 individuals born with Bloom Syndrome only have one of the mutated BLM genes, which means that they produce only half of the normal amount of BLM protein and thereby increasing their risk of developing various forms of cancer.

The research in this study followed a previous discovery by the team’s lead researcher which showed that mutations to the BAP1 gene could lead to an increased susceptibility to developing cancer. Furthering the research into the BLM mutation, the National Institutes of Health has awarded the research team a grant in order to study a population in Nevada at risk of exposure to asbestos and other harmful mineral fibers.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently gave approval to the first new mesothelioma drug treatment combination for patients in the last 16 years. The drug combination, Opdivo (nivolumab) in combination with Yervoy (ipilimumab) are a first-line treatment for adults with malignant pleural mesothelioma that cannot be removed by surgery.

“Today’s approval of nivolumab plus ipilimumab provides a new treatment that has demonstrated an improvement in overall survival for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “In 2004, FDA approved pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin for this indication, and now patients now have an important, additional treatment option after more than a decade with only one FDA-approved drug regimen.”

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a serious form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, and is caused by exposure to carcinogenic asbestos fibers. According to the FDA, about 20,000 Americans develop malignant pleural mesothelioma each year and accounts for most of the mesothelioma cases recorded. Furthermore, most of the patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma are not able to have their tumors operated on and this prognosis creates a generally poor survival rate.

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