One of the shining lights in mesothelioma research can be found at the Baylor College of Medicine Lung Institute, where the Houston-based center’s Mesothelioma Treatment Center has long been on the cutting edge of both research and patient care. Now their associate professor of surgery Dr. Bryan Burt is taking their investigations one step further, leading a study on combining immunotherapy with a new drug that accelerates cell death.
Study will examine use of immunotherapy combined with adenovirus
The study will look specifically at a new protocol for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. the disease generally claims the lives of its victims less than two years after they are diagnosed, and patients are generally treated with a combination of chemotherapy and surgery if their tumors are resectable. Despite the aggressiveness of this approach, patients succumb quickly to their disease, usually because it has advanced too far in the body for treatments to be effective.
In response to the need for a treatment that will advance treatment options, Dr. Burt has announced a clinical trial that will provide patients with an IV infusion of Nivolumab, an immunotherapy drug that has proven effective in a number of human tumors. At the same time they will be injected with a modified adenovirus called MTG201 which has also shown success.
Adenoviruses work differently than other types of mesothelioma cancer treatments: they are programmed to search out cancer cells and lead to cell death. By combining the two, it is hoped that the cell death induced by the MTG201 will actually attract the immunotherapy drug to the site of the cancerous cells and stimulate the immune system’s response to mesothelioma in general, thus making it more difficult for the rare and deadly from of cancer to return.
Previous research with laboratory animals has proven effective
Dr. Burt has already tested this mesothelioma treatment on laboratory animals, and has found a high success rate. “This therapy eradicates mouse mesothelioma tumors, rapidly and consistently in an aggressive mouse model of mesothelioma,” he said. He and his colleagues are currently recruiting patients for their clinical trial, and are specifically seeking 12 patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma whose disease has previously been treated with chemotherapy.
Speaking of the study, Mesothelioma Treatment Center Director and Associate Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine Dr. Robert Taylor Ripley said, “Ultimately, individual patients will respond to different approaches,” Ripley said. “I suspect that an array of therapeutic options will be necessary to provide effective therapies for all patients. Clinical trials will help define which patient will respond and which therapies should routinely be utilized while avoiding ineffective treatment.”
If you have been diagnose with malignant mesothelioma and you need information on this clinical trial or any other resources available to you, contact the Patients Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.