Researchers Develop “Inhaled” Chemotherapy Treatment

Mesothelioma attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm highlight a recent breakthrough by researchers at several prominent cancer institutes, promising a new drug delivery system that will allow lung cancer patients to inhale chemotherapeutic drugs.

The developments were made by researchers at Oregon State University, Rutgers University, and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and recently published in the Journal of Controlled Release. Lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States for both men and women. Of course, lung cancer is most publicly linked to smoking cigarettes, however, there are several other ways lung cancer patients contract this disease.

Among the most insidious and harmful of these is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen, and was used abundantly in American workplaces until the early 1980s, when it was revealed the mineral can cause fatal ailments, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Often mistaken as a type of lung cancer, mesothelioma is the cancer of the lining of either the lung, heart, or abdomen, and is almost always fatal; at the time of diagnoses, mesothelioma patients are often give less than one year to live.

In laboratory and animal tests, the inhaled chemotherapy treatment appeared to reduce the damage done to other organs by the cancer cells, while at the same time improving treatment of lung tumors. The treatment combines extraordinarily small nanoparticles, existing cancer chemotherapy drugs, and tiny interfering RNA, which prohibit cancer cells from resisting attacks.

Much like mesothelioma, the damage caused by lung cancer is not typically confined to one particular area. Instead, the cancer cells multiply and spread throughout the body, affecting numerous organs and tissues. Chemotherapy is incredibly toxic in the human body, causing organ damage and severe side effects on its own. What’s more, typical intravenous administration of chemotherapy makes it difficult for the drugs to get to the lungs, which are inconveniently located in the center of the body.

Thus, a new, inhalable chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma and lung cancer patients is as welcomed as it is efficient. A patent is currently pending for the technology, however, and more testing is required before the drugs can be approved for human clinical trials.

The chemotherapy drugs in the inhaler are smaller than particles of dust, making them easy to inhale and also readily attachable to cancer cells. The drugs include not only the chemotherapy treatment, but also, as stated, small interfering RNA, which make the cancer cells that much more vulnerable to anti-cancer drugs.

By being inhaled, the chemotherapeutic drugs are also better able to stay intact; conversely, when the drugs are injected, the drugs degrade somewhat by having to pass through so many bodily systems before arriving in the lungs. When injected, the drugs often accumulate in the kidney, liver and spleen, causing less and less of the agents to actually make it into the lungs. The inhaled drugs, in this study, made it to the lungs at a rate of 83%, compared to only 23% during injection methods. The research development and study was supported by the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation.

Mesothelioma attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will continue to report on any new developments in mesothelioma and lung cancer treatment, studies, and clinical trials. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you have important legal rights and may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact one of our skilled asbestos exposure lawyers as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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