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Mesothelioma Drug Offers Hope to Victims

ADI-PEG20 (pegargiminase) combined with chemotherapy significantly improves the mesothelioma survival rate, according to a recent study.

“This trial has changed the lives of people with mesothelioma, allowing us to live longer,” said one of the patients who benefited from the drug. The 80-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, won compensation from his former employer after being exposed to asbestos in a factory in the 1970s.

He was given four months to live, but thanks to the trial is still alive five years later. “I have five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren now – I wouldn’t want to miss all that,” he said.

The breakthrough is significant, experts say, because mesothelioma has one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer. The new drug, ADI-PEG20 (pegargiminase), is the first of its kind to be successfully combined with chemotherapy in 20 years.

The trial involved patients from the UK, U.S., Australia, Italy and Taiwan, and was led by Professor Peter Szlosarek at Queen Mary. Each received chemotherapy every three weeks for up to six cycles. Half were also given injections of new drug, while the other half received a placebo for two years.

“In this pivotal, randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial in 249 patients with pleural mesothelioma, pegargiminase-chemotherapy increased significantly the median overall survival by 1.6 months and quadrupled the survival at 36 months compared to placebo-chemotherapy,” the authors wrote. “Pegargiminase-based chemotherapy was well tolerated with no new safety signals,” they added.

Current Pleural Mesothelioma Treatments

The study results are truly promising because no effective pleural mesothelioma (PlM) treatment is currently available, and the five-year survival rate is below 10%.

PlM has an unusually long latency period. Most mesothelioma victims do not show physical symptoms of illness, such as severe pain and fatigue, for at least a half-century after exposure. Frequently, most environmental cancer victims, like mesothelioma victims, do not show any lifestyle or genetic red flags. So, most doctors do not suspect cancer is a problem, and when physical symptoms appear, doctors don’t suspect cancer either.

Cancer survival rates have improved since the 1990s mostly because diagnostic methods have improved and doctors get a head start on cancer treatments. Since this fast start is not possible in PlM cases, the patient’s future is bleak. Some advanced options are available, but they’re very expensive. More on that below.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatments

PtM, a form of abdominal cancer, is less common and more treatable than PlM. Absorbed asbestos fibers, as opposed to inhaled fibers, often cause this form of cancer.

Frequently, doctors inject superheated chemotherapy drugs directly into the abdominal cavity. These drugs kill fast-dividing cells, such as cancer cells. The high heat multiplies the drug’s strength, which is already considerable. Better drugs, like better chemotherapy drugs, are another reason cancer survival rates have improved over the past forty years.

However, there is a downside. This treatment is very aggressive, and the powerful chemotherapy drugs have powerful side effects. Many PlM victims are in their 70s. As a result, they often cannot tolerate such advanced treatments.

Cancer Treatment Costs

Standard cancer treatment costs could be more than $10,000 a month. Advanced and experimental cancer treatments could easily cost three or four times that much.

Most health insurance plans exclude injury-related costs. Even if they cover them, they usually only pay 80% of these bills. 20% of a cancer treatment bill is an enormous amount of money that most people cannot possibly pay.

A nationwide mesothelioma lawyer helps victims afford necessary medical treatment in both the short term and the long term.

Lawyers have professional relationships with doctors who, in most cases, charge nothing upfront for their professional services. So, victims have a chance to get better without worrying about huge bills.

These bills, like other litigation-related expenses, must be paid eventually. When that time comes, attorneys negotiate with medical providers to reduce the amount owed. For example, if Maxine owes $100,000, her nationwide mesothelioma lawyer might reduce that amount to $50,000.

In some states, victims get to keep the difference between the amount paid and the amount owed, thus making their settlements even larger.

Speak with a Detail-Oriented Attorney

Mesothelioma victims need and deserve significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyer, contact the Throneberry Law Group. We routinely handle these matters on a nationwide basis.

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You are the reason my mother was able to cope with losing a loved one. You and your staff are always helpful and go above and beyond to help. You have been great to my family and especially my mother. My mother would always come out of your office with a peace of mind. R.S.
We are so appreciative of the results Michael Throneberry got for us! Michael Throneberry and the attorneys we worked with were focused on our peace of mind and seemed to care for my family and me as if we were family. They truly get it. We were thrilled with the result and would recommend this firm to anyone. M.S.
During one of my family's darkest and trying times, Michael Throneberry was there to provide help. His personal experience with mesothelioma made certain that he advised us like family. Thank you, you are wonderful. Do yourself a favor and let him help you during this trying time. He is a true 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. T.S.
Michael Throneberry gave me a whole new outlook on attorneys'! A very caring person who was more concerned with my health than a case. Truly unexpected! He explained possible conditions in english and even found the right doctors in my area. Prepared me for the right questions to ask the doctors so that I can understand my illness better. A great person and a great human being! Thank you. Greg