Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that starts in the organ linings and then metastasizes or spreads to other parts of the body. It has a slow growth rate at first, which makes workers believe they have safely averted any medical consequences of their on-the-job asbestos exposure.
It frequently takes decades after exposure for people to have diagnosable mesothelioma symptoms. They may first present mild symptoms, like fatigue or pain in their chest. However, it often causes debilitating symptoms rapidly after diagnosis, and many people succumb to mesothelioma within the first few years of their diagnosis.
No treatment currently helps those with mesothelioma achieve remission. Chemotherapy, surgery and even immunotherapies so far have only helped reduce symptoms and slow the spread of this deadly form of cancer.
New treatment options could be on the horizon
Researchers have started using combinations of different therapies to combat mesothelioma, such as immunotherapy administered prior to surgery, to try to improve people’s responses to treatment. They have also tried developing completely new approaches to fighting cancer.
Researchers cooperating at Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine published promising research involving mesothelioma in mice. The researchers worked with mice that had advanced-stage mesothelioma tumors.
They implanted drug-producing beads close to the tumors so that they could produce a naturally-occurring compound and prompt nearby white blood cells to fight the tumor. Similar research has led to clinical trials in humans for ovarian cancer.
The school researchers found that the mice responded well to the treatment. More than half of the mice were left with no tumors whatsoever while using the drug factory implants. When combined with another drug that helps target specific proteins, all of the mice treated in that fashion saw a complete removal of their tumors.
As in humans, mesothelioma has historically been very hard to treat in mice, so this research is a very positive sign for those recently diagnosed with mesothelioma or worried about this form of cancer because of their professional history involving asbestos.
For many people adjusting to a mesothelioma diagnosis, connecting with the best medical treatment will be a challenge because of the costs involved. Pursuing a compensation claim after a mesothelioma diagnosis can help individuals cover cutting-edge treatment costs.