Mesothelioma Treatment: Identifying the New and Eliminating the Old

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is a condition with hardly any early detection methods or effective treatments. The long struggle against mesothelioma could finally have a powerful weapon, with reports stating that an ancient Ayurvedic medicine may help battle the disease. Chicago mesothelioma lawyers hope for more positive developments in this area.

The plant, called Withania somnifera, belongs to the family of nightshade or Indian ginseng. It contains a bioactive compound called Withaferin A (WA), which is extracted from its root. Many studies seem to suggest that Withania somnifera contains anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic and immune-modulatory properties.

The latest research in the field was conducted by Detroit’s Karmanos Cancer Institute. The medicine was tested on live mice and cells from humans. The aim was to study the impact of WA on the growth of mesothelioma cells as well as to better understand the molecular mechanism working behind it.

The mice in the study were administered 5 mg of WA each day into their intra-peritoneal area. It was found to prevent the growth of mesothelioma cells. This was also true in the cells of human patients. The WA appeared to modulate the levels of some of the proteins that are necessary for the life cycle of a cell. It also suppressed the growth of mesothelioma by increasing the cell death rate, called apoptosis. Gene-array based testing conducted earlier proved that WA did work to suppress genes, thereby promoting metastasis and cell growth.

The summary of the findings suggests that WA can function as an anti-mesothelioma agent by suppressing the growth of pleural mesothelioma, stimulating apoptosis and blocking proteasome activity. However, for this Ayurvedic medication to be truly proven and approved by the FDA it needs to be tested through placebo-controlled, double-blind human trials.

While this potential new treatment for mesothelioma is promising, some treatments are being proved worthless or even dangerous. One of these is the EPP or extrapleural pneumenectomy intense trimodal approach. The procedure involves removal of the body linings, portions of the diaphragm, and the nearest lung along with the affected mesothelium after chemotherapy is performed. It is followed by radiotherapy. This is a high-risk procedure with an elevated death rate.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lungs or the protective membranes, called mesothelium, around the lungs, stomach or other vital organs of the body. One of the reasons mesothelioma is so deadly is because it is not easily detectable, since its symptoms are similar to many other disorders. When patients are finally diagnosed, most of them have a survival rate of around 12 to 18 months. For a disease of such severity, aggressive or risky treatments may be justified.

The trimodal approach was tested for its efficacy by the University Hospital Berne in Switzerland. Doctors observed 41 patients who were treated from 2000 and 2005 and received platinum-based chemotherapy with pemetrexed or gemcitabine before the EPP procedure. They were also administered radiotherapy.

4.8% of the patients died within a month following the surgery due to complications from the procedure, while 71% of the patients lived for one more year following the surgery. However, only 28% of the patients lived for two years following the procedure by which time 83% of them had their tumors return. Five years after the procedure only 10% were living.

There were no differences found in the treatment response in relation to factors such as the type of mesothelioma, the kind of lymph node involvement, the stage of the tumor or the age of the individual.

Since there were such a small number of individuals who had successful and long-lasting remissions with this trimodal treatment, EPP is not recommended by the research team. Instead, it suggests approaches that are less invasive, such as pleurectomy or decortication.

Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can protect your legal rights if you or someone close to you has acquired this dangerous disease from asbestos exposure. We understand the devastating effects of this disease, and continue to stay up-to-date on the latest treatments, studies, and significant findings.