Effective Mesothelioma Drug May Be On the Horizon

Mesothelioma treatment is complex and requires ongoing research. Mesothelioma attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm understand that it is in the best interest of our asbestos exposure clients to stay up to date on the latest treatment options available. Currently, mesothelioma has one of the poorest survival rates of all cancers.

Mesothelioma cancer patients have a projected survival rate of less than one year following diagnosis, mainly due to the fact that the disease is so difficult to detect. A 67-year-old German patient, however, has been living with malignant mesothelioma for nearly a decade. Doctors are closely studying the factors that have not only enabled him to live so long, but also to live a life without virtually any symptoms.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that attacks the membranes that protect vital organs of the body, including the heart, lungs, and stomach. This deadly cancer is caused by occupational exposure to asbestos (working in an environment that is filled with asbestos dust) or by environmental exposure (inhaling airborne fibers of the toxic mineral).

This particular asbestos victim worked with asbestos-containing materials, which led to a mesothelioma diagnosis nine years ago. He was diagnosed following a CT scan that revealed a thickening of the pleural lining surrounding the lungs, along with the presence of a mass in the area. Doctors prescribed him various chemotherapy medications such as paclitaxel and etoposide. However, it is what the patient was given along with these medications that seems to be the key to his survival.

In addition to the injectable and oral medications, the patient was also injected with a drug known as pegylated liposomal doxorubicin hydrochloride (HCL). This drug can interrupt communication with DNA cells and stop them from replicating.

The National Cancer Institute determined that liposomal delivery of doxorubicin HCL can actually increase the amount of time that the medication is effective. It does this by penetrating deep into the tumors and making the drug less toxic to the heart.

After chemotherapy, the patient’s symptoms improved and a radiological evaluation showed a decrease in the thickness of his pleural lining. In previous years, regular CT scans showed that the mesothelioma remained more or less stable.

In the United States, the current standard for treating mesothelioma through chemotherapy consists of pemetrexed and cisplatin. Researchers are concluding that regardless of the chemotherapy plan, liposomal delivery of doxorubicin HCL can increase its overall effectiveness.

One of the most important steps in treating mesothelioma is to accurately detect it. Treatment is also key as the disease progresses. Research shows that some doctors may not presently have the ability to accurately assess how the body responds to mesothelioma treatment. Changes may need to be made with respect to the way the tumor is measured. Some of the current methods may be off by at least 30% when it comes to detecting the progression of the disease and by at least 34% when determining the appropriate treatment response.

In order to get a more accurate picture of a particular mesothelioma patient’s health, the way in which mesothelioma tumors are measured may need to change. Regular CT scans may not provide a representative assessment. Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will continue to monitor advanced diagnosis and treatment methods throughout the country.


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