Mesothelioma is a rare and very aggressive form of cancer, often affecting the thin lining of tissues surrounding the lungs and abdomen, and although there is no definitive cure for the disease, medical advancements have helped many live longer, more comfortable lives. Traditional mesothelioma treatments include standard oncology practices of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, but in recent years there have been numerous other advancements, including immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy helps mesothelioma patients by boosting the individual’s immunal response to the disease and is used in concert with various other treatments. While immunotherapy drugs cannot defeat the disease on its own, the hope is that a multi-pronged approach can help alleviate symptoms and give patients longer survival time.
How does Immunotherapy Work?
Immunotherapy works by triggering the body’s response to diseases and viruses. When a disease first manifests itself in the patient, the body’s immune system may be unaware of the threat posed. To combat this, doctors inject patients with antigens from diseased cells that sound the alarm and let the immune system know there is a threat to the body.
After recognizing the disease, antibodies focus on the pathogens to defeat the cancer, leaving healthy tissues alone. The major benefit to immunotherapy over surgery and radiation treatments is that the healthy tissue surrounding the cancer tumors goes unharmed, drastically improving the overall health of the patient.
Mesothelioma is particularly tricky form of cancer, as the body fails to recognize the tumor antigens until the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Before the cancer metastasizes, tumors remain in one location, and it can be decades before the disease actually manifests itself in patients.
Types of Immunotherapy Treatments
There are two types of immunotherapy treatments, active and passive, with each helping the body fight cancer and other diseases in a unique way. Researchers are constantly looking into to new way to utilize these treatments to fight mesothelioma and other serious diseases.
Unfortunately, there are few mesothelioma antigens doctors can use to trigger an immune response to the cancer. The most mesothelioma antigen is mesothelin from which doctors extract certain proteins and attach to other biological substances to transfer the antigen into the patient’s body.
Clinical trials utilizing mesothelin have shown promise with patients fighting mesothelioma and are progressing. Many of these patients developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos, a flaky white mineral used in numerous commercial and industrial applications. Although a clear-cut cure for the disease may still be many years away, the hope for immunotherapy is that the treatment can at least stabilize the disease and prevent tumor from spreading throughout the body.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer
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.