Treatment Offers Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer Patients Hope

The University of Strathclyde reports that patients suffering from mesothelioma and lung cancer “could receive safer and more efficient treatment through a system being developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.” According to the news report, these scientists have developed a process to deliver cancer medications through a nebulizer, which allows patients to inhale these drugs rather than taking them intravenously. The news release explains that this new form of delivery “could administer the treatment far more quickly than existing methods and without the harmful side effects associated with current systems, which can cause kidney damage.” Researchers also claim this delivery method could allow doctors to fine tune the delivery of medications, enabling them to deliver smaller doses of these drugs without “diminution of benefit to patients.” According to the news release, mesothelioma and lung cancer are a major concern in Scotland, where the treatment system is being developed. The University of Strathclyde explains that in 2009, 4,147 deaths were attributed to mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos exposure is the cause mesothelioma, though it is also responsible for lung cancer development. Like many nations, Scotland once utilized this natural mineral in many of its industries throughout much of the 20th century. This has led to the wave of asbestos-related illnesses and deaths seen throughout the nation, which continue even today. Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases develop after a long latency period of 20 to 50 years. Asbestos fibers become embedded in internal tissues, generally only developing into lethal tumors after this prolonged period of irritation and accumulation. Dr. Valerie Ferro, one of the lead researchers, explained in the Strathclyde release that despite increased “‘awareness of cancer risks and improvements in treatment,’” these cancers are some of the greatest threats, which makes new treatments like this one essential. Ferro continued, explaining that “‘By delivering cisplatin, one of the most widely used drugs for lung cancer, in a vaporised form, we would be able to get it to the cancerous cells and avoid the damage to healthy cells which can be hugely debilitating to patients. It would make the treatment far less onerous for them and we hope it would help them to live longer,’” the news source reports. Reference:
  • University of Strathclyde staff writer. (October 11, 2011) “Inhaler treatment for lung cancer.” Retrieved on October 14, 2011 from the University of Strathclyde Glasgow.
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