Archive for April, 2010

Mesothelioma Research: Immuno-Gene Therapy

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

There’s more good news for mesothelioma treatment on the horizon.  According to an article posted on the always-helpful Asbestos.com, a promising treatment for this disease might lie in immuno-gene therapy.  This cutting-edge treatment method involves boosting the immune system through a variety of methods.  One involves the introduction of a virus whose genetic material has been altered to include a normal, human gene into the area where the mesothelioma is.  When this virus enters cancer cells, it triggers those cells to begin producing normal proteins, not defective ones.  Another method involves the introduction of coated DNA into the system.

Though immuno-gene therapy is a potentially fertile region for discovery, there are some hang-ups regarding this treatment.  First, there are concerns that the body’s own immune system, despite being comprised, might reject the infectious cells rapidly.  From a legal perspective, since the FDA has yet to approve immuno-gene therapy, the treatment is only available to those patients who qualify for clinical trials.  Still, it could be a step in the right direction.

About Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an insidious and startlingly effective killer.  It is caused by asbestos, a fibrous mineral formerly prized in many industries, and particularly in ship-building and construction, for its excellent flame-retardant and insulation properties.  Unfortunately, for all its utility, asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can utterly ravage the lungs.  One way it does this is by fibers getting embedded in the pleural lining of the lungs.  This can happen without noticeable adverse affects for up to 50 years; however, once the mesothelioma’s onset occurs, patients rapidly deteriorate.  For all the forward advancements the medical field offers on a regular basis, the life expectancy of those diagnosed with this devastating, rare disease is often measured in months, not not years.

Nevertheless, we here at the Mesothelioma Help Network eagerly hope that science will one day catch up to this brutal cancer, rendering it a curable disease.  Who knows?  One of these experimental treatments on the horizon just might point the way to such a future.

NGR-hTNF Phase Trials

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

According to a promising article posted by the fine folks over at AboutMesothelioma.net, an experimental drug used for treating cancer, known as NGR-hTNF, had positive results when used as a means of treating mesothelioma.

According to the study, 57 patients who had already received chemotherapy treatment and had experienced a relapse of the disease were given the drug.  NGR-hTNF combines an amino acid sequence known as a peptide with a protein that helps bolster the immune system’s response to tumor growth.  The drug seemed to be somewhat effective at temporarily stopping the advance of the cancer, which affects the pleural lining of the lung, in 26 of the patients.  The length of the effectiveness appeared to be five months, and the median length of survival for patients was 12 months.

This might seem like bleak and not-particularly-good news, but mesothelioma is such a ravaging and devastating disease that any bit of news like this is emphatically good news.  With a cancer like mesothelioma, where the prognosis is almost always death and where the lifespan of those diagnosed is often measured in months, not years, every step forward is a great leap in the right direction.

Mesothelioma Treatment

If you are diagnosed with this devastating disease, it might be a good idea to contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer with a proven track record of success.  When picking such a lawyer or law firm, be sure to do your homework.  Taking their win/loss ratio into account is usually a good tactic.  Though previous case histories don’t guarantee a particular outcome, since each case is different, you might be able to look at it as an indicator of the competence of the lawyer in question.

Though a mesothelioma diagnosis is a terrible affliction, there are constantly advances in treatments, many of which can improve the quality of life of victims.  Who knows—one day, if we’re lucky, this disease might be easily curable.  We have hope.