Can Getting Sick Protect Mesothelioma Patients from Getting Worse?

It certainly seems counterintuitive, but there are some researchers who believe that mesothelioma patients may benefit from being infected with viruses. 

Belgian Researchers Hit Mesothelioma-Infected Mice with Viruses

The novel treatment for mesothelioma is being explored by researchers from Université Catholique de Louvain in Brussels, and is not the same as the immunotherapy protocol currently getting so much global attention. While immunotherapy uses drugs and genetic manipulation techniques to activate the immune system and make it more effective at finding and fighting cancer cells, the Belgian researchers took a different approach.

They started with mice that carried mesothelioma tumors, then injected them with a virus to cause the mice to develop a generalized infection. The approach is designed to counter one of the biggest challenges that mesothelioma presents – its extraordinary ability to hide from the body’s natural killer cells, whose job it is to find foreign or harmful cells and kill them.  By evading these immune system cells, mesothelioma tumors are able to continue growing and spreading. The researchers wanted to see whether the presence of a virus in the lab animals’ bodies would reactivate immune cells.

Study Shows Virus Slowed Mesothelioma 

According to study author Mohamed Mandour, “Acute infection with lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus strongly reduced in vivo early AB1 mesothelioma growth and death resulting from cancer development.” Though the study found that the virus had no direct impact on the mesothelioma cells themselves, it did activate production of Gamma-interferon, a type of natural killer cell that controlled the mesothelioma cells. The presence of the virus changed the environment of the mesothelioma cells, making it more inhospitable to growth.

Every mesothelioma patient focuses on the future, and there is nothing more future-oriented for the disease than the remarkable research being done by scientists around the world. If you or someone you love has mesothelioma and you need more information about resources and treatment protocols, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

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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