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.
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.