Three Key Areas for Mesothelioma Research: Treatment

May 20, 2014 - Mesothelioma treatment today consists primarily of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Because mesothelioma is often diagnosed at a late stage of its development, after symptoms have set in and worsened, these treatments are often ineffective at extending mesothelioma life expectancy or improving quality of life for people living with the disease. Many mesothelioma treatment options are strictly palliative, which means they address symptoms only, without slowing the cancer growth. Several new mesothelioma treatment advancements are currently being studied by medical and scientific researchers. Here are some of the latest treatments being studied in clinical trials today: New chemotherapy medications: Historically, chemotherapy medications have had little effect of mesothelioma tumors. Due to this fact, researchers are studying new medications in combination with other treatments as well as new applications for the chemotherapy medications. Photodynamic therapy: This technique, known as PDT, uses an intravenous medication that is “turned on” by light. The medication spreads throughout the body and builds up around cancer cells. The medication is then activated with a special red light surgically placed near the tumors, which activates the medication to kill the cancer cells. Gene therapy: This new treatment attempts to change cancer cells by manipulating their DNA with the addition of new genes. The transformed cancer cells would then, theoretically, be easier to kill.  According to the American Cancer Society, early studies of this therapy have found it may slow the development of mesothelioma in some people. Cancer vaccines: These are medications that attempt to trigger the body’s natural immune system to attack cancer cells. This treatment approach is now being studied in clinical trials. With ongoing medical and scientific research, mesothelioma victims may have more hope for the future. For more information on current mesothelioma research, visit clinicaltrials.gov and search for “mesothelioma” to find the latest trials. Reference: Previous: Three Key Areas for Mesothelioma Research: Genetics Next: Four “Musts” When Living With Mesothelioma: Stay Positive