British Study to Test New Drug for Relapsed Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

While much of the world remains locked down due to the COVID crisis, scientists and researchers continue their work, and that includes searching for a cure for malignant mesothelioma. In the last few weeks there have been notable breakthroughs, including the first FDA approval of a new drug in over a decade. This week, the biopharmaceutical company BerGenBio announced that the first patient has been dosed in a trial of a novel selective AXL kinase inhibitor with hopes that it will help mesothelioma patients experiencing a relapse.

Drug Test is Part of Larger Umbrella Study of Mesothelioma Called MiST

The mesothelioma trial was announced by BerGenBio. It is supported by funding from the British Lung Foundation and is being sponsored by the University of Leicester in England. The drug, called bemcentinib, is being studied as part of an umbrella study called the Mesothelioma Stratified Therapy, or MiST, which is working towards improving survival outcomes for mesothelioma patients through the use of personalized therapies. 

This phase of the MiST study is seeking total participation of up to 26 patients with relapsed malignant pleural mesothelioma. They will be treated at sites throughout the United Kingdom. The trial will study a combination of bemcentinib and pembrolizumab, and will report its primary endpoint results based on disease control rate at 12 weeks, analyzing the impact on patients that respond either completely or partially. Researchers will also assess safety and toxicity, objective response rate and disease control rate at 24 weeks.

Drug Targets AXL Found in Mesothelioma

AXL is a molecular target that is being investigated in the treatment of solid tumors, and which has been shown in 74% of tissue samples of malignant pleural mesothelioma. It has been associated with tumor cell growth, metastasis, invasion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), angiogenesis, drug resistance, immune regulation and stem cell maintenance.

Previous testing has shown that bemcentinib can help make drugs like pembrolizumab more effective at stopping these damaging impacts in other cancers, and facilitates an activation of an anti-tumor response. The researchers hope to see the same effect in applying it to patients with relapsed malignant mesothelioma.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you would like information on clinical trials or any other innovations in the treatment of the disease, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 for more information.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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