Treatment > New Treatment Regimens for Mesothelioma
There are many new developments in the field of mesothelioma treatments and research. Check with your doctor regarding any new approaches for which you may eligible. New treatment regimens including photodynamic therapy, immunotherapy, and gene therapy are now in various phases of development.
New Chemotherapy Drugs
Pharmaceutical researchers are investigation new classes of oncology medications, and new chemotheraphy drugs are approved by the FDA on a regular basis. Ask your doctor about new drug approvals for mesothelioma, or contact us for the most up-to-date information.
One of the most exciting new drugs is Alimta (pemetrexed). Alimta is a new antifolate chemotherapy drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use with Cisplatin in the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma whose disease is either unresectable or who are not candidates for curative surgery. During trials, Alimta showed better response than what has been the chemotherapy 'standard' for mesothelioma.
A number of other newer combinations of chemotherapy have been examined in clinical trials with promising activity. Let us know if you are interested in getting into clinical trials for mesothelioma patients.
Chemotherapy has undergone an incredibly rapid evolution from mustard gas use in the 1940s to drugs designed to target specific cancer cell functions at the beginning of the 21st century. New research techniques such as molecular medical imaging, bioinformatics and gene research will drive even more rapid development of new therapies over the near term. There is enormous opportunity today to arrest and in some cases completely eradicate the burden of cancer.
Angiogenesis inhibitors encompass a group of drugs that block angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels. Solid tumors are unable to grow beyond the size of a pinhead without the formation of new blood vessels to supply the nutritional needs of the tumor. By blocking the development of new blood vessels, the inhibitor cuts off the tumor’s supply of oxygen and nutrients, halting its continued growth and possible spread to other parts of the body.
Standard chemotherapy drugs work by attacking cells that divide rapidly. While these drugs kill cancer cells, they also damage other cells which divide quickly such as those in the bone marrow, the skin, the mouth, and the intestines. Because chemotherapy drugs are so toxic, they are usually given in cycles, which include days or sometimes even weeks without treatment. This allows the patient’s normal cells to recover before beginning another round of treatment. Unlike standard chemotherapy drugs, antiangiogenic drugs are not toxic to most healthy cells, so they can be given without interruption. This may help these drugs be more effective in the treatment of cancer.
Antiangiogenesis drugs currently in clinical trials for mesothelioma include bevacizumab (Avastin), and SU-5416.
Protein kinases are enzymes—molecules that catalyze chemical reactions. Protein kinases specifically regulate important functions in cells such as control of cell division, cell survival/apoptosis (programmed cell death), and metastasis (ability of cells to migrate). Kinase inhibitors are a new class of drug used to address cancer.
Clinical Trials of Mesothelioma Treatments
The National Cancer Institute (part of the federal government) sponsors clinical trials (research studies with people) in an attempt to find new treatments and better ways to use current treatments. Clinical trials are part of the way the medical community comes up with new techniques and treatments. Before a treatment can be recommended for general use, doctors conduct clinical trials to find out whether the treatment is safe for patients and effective against the disease.
There are clinical trials covering many diseases, and they are an important treatment option for many patients with mesothelioma. People interested in taking part in a clinical trial should talk with their doctor. Also, ask about informed consent when dealing with trials.
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