Mesothelioma is an aggressive, deadly cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers that leaves victims with few treatment options the further the disease progresses from the lungs and abdomen. While doctors can use aggressive treatments like surgery if the disease is caught in its early stages, mesothelioma will eventually metastasize into delicate areas of the body unsuitable for surgical removal.
However, doctors and researchers around the world have committed themselves to finding better treatment options for late-stage cancer patients to help extend patient life expectancy and improve quality of life. Recently, cancer researchers meeting in Amsterdam for the annual World Lung Cancer Conference submitted a report of a promising new immunotherapy drug, nivolumab (also known as Opdivo).
According to a statement released by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, the drug showed tremendous promise in treating patients battling malignant pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is a form of the disease affecting a thin lining of tissue around the lungs, one of the most common types of the deadly cancer victims can experience.
Nivolumab works by blocking PD-1, a cell surface protein which can get in the way of cancer-fighting white blood cells trying to attack tumors. Patients in the study had previously been treated with platinum-based chemotherapy, a cancer treatment used in almost 50% of chemotherapy patients.
Cancer Growth Stopped in Half of Patients in Nivolumab Study
The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam conducted the study on 33 patients over the course of 12 weeks, during which time no patients succumbed to their disease. Nivolumab was able to control cancer growth in approximately 50% of the participants while another 12 patients saw their condition stabilized and 17 other patients experienced progression of the disease.
While eight patients were forced to end their treatment due to some of the toxic side effects of taking the drug, the important outcome of the study is that doctors observed a correlation between reduction in PD-1 cells and patient health. As promising as this study is, this type of treatment is considered to be one of the last resorts to treating the disease and more than likely will only aid in keeping patients more comfortable in the disease’s last stages.
Mesothelioma patients should never give up hope in the fight against the cancer, as advancements are always being made and studies for new treatments frequently arise to test new drugs. A combination of continuous treatment, a strong support network, and a positive attitude can make a huge difference to health and wellbeing of mesothelioma patients as they battle this deadly form of lung cancer.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.