Every mesothelioma patient can respond differently to the https://mesothelioma.net/treatment-for-mesothelioma/available treatment protocols based on their cell type, genetics, and their overall health. Currently, doctors looking for the most effective option for an individual patient are limited to waiting to see whether tumor growth stops after a drug is administered. But a group of researchers from MIT and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have developed a new method of testing the response to a specific cancer drug, and it may prove to be a game changer.
New Testing Method Could Lead to Better Use of Drugs to Suit Each Mesothelioma Patient
Mesothelioma has many different subtypes, and some respond better to treatment than others. It is also true that a patient’s individual genetic makeup plays a role in their response to chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs. The only way that doctors can tell whether a drug will work is to wait to see if the malignant cells respond to its use. The researchers at MIT and Dana-Farber have come up with a better way, removing tumor cells and treating them with a variety of drugs in the lab, then gauging changes to cell mass that take place over the next few days to determine which provided the best response.
Though the group conducted their research using glioblastoma cells, the approach can be applied to malignant mesothelioma and countless other types of cancers. Scott Manalis, the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering in the departments of Biological Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research explained, “Essentially all of the clinically used cancer drugs either directly or indirectly stop the growth of cancer cells. That’s why we think measuring mass could offer a universal readout of the effects of a lot of different types of drug mechanisms.”
New Approach Would Offer Quick Answer to Whether A Mesothelioma Drug is Working
Like mesothelioma, glioblastoma is both aggressive and fatal. Keith Ligon, director of the Center for Patient Derived Models at Dana-Farber, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and the study’s senior author with Manalis, said, “With this disease, you don’t have much time to make adjustments. So, if you take an ineffective drug for six months, that’s pretty significant. This kind of assay could help to speed up the learning process for each individual patient and help with decision-making.”
The new approach is called functional precision medicine, and its potential benefits for mesothelioma patients are clear. Ligon says, “The idea behind functional precision medicine is that, for cancer, you could take a patient’s tumor cells, give them the drugs that the patient might get, and predict what would happen, before giving them to the patient …. Ideally we would test the drug the patient was most likely to get, but we would also test for things that would be the backup plan: first-, second-, and third-line therapies, or different combinations of drugs.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, finding the fastest route to effective treatment is essential. For assistance in finding the resources you need, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.