Cancer Treatment Success Gives Hope to Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is unique in many ways. It is one of very few cancers that has a clear and unique cause – exposure to asbestos. It is also unusual in that it has an extremely long latency period: People who are exposed to asbestos may live for several decades completely unaware that they have a cancer growing in their body, until symptoms suddenly begin to make themselves known. Unfortunately, the fact that the disease generally does not manifest itself until it is far advanced contributes to the difficulties involved in treating it. Mesothelioma is always considered to be fatal, and has proven resistant to the traditional protocol of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy that is successful in many other types of cancer.
Because of the challenge that mesothelioma presents, recent research has focused on innovative new technologies. One example of a treatment protocol that is offering a great deal of hope for successfully treating mesothelioma is called immunotherapy – a therapy that essentially reprograms the body’s immune system so that it will attack cancer cells. A recent test of an immunotherapy protocol conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle has yielded remarkable results that are inspiring hope for those who suffer from mesothelioma as well as many other forms of cancer that have proven to be intransigent.
The new study followed patients that had been diagnosed with late-stage leukemia and lymphoma. It was used after all other treatment options had proven unsuccessful – a common occurrence with mesothelioma patients. The researchers, who presented their study results at the recent AAAS meeting in Washington, D.C., found that 27 of the 29 patients’ leukemia went into complete remission when treated using their own T cells that had been genetically modified to recognize cancer cells, and that 19 of 30 lymphoma patients responded positively well. Patients that had not been expected to live longer than a few months are alive three years later, a finding that is “unprecedented in medicine” according to researcher Stanley Riddell.
The researchers acknowledge that seven of the patients who were followed developed a life-threatening inflammation resulting from too many cancer cells being killed at once – two of them died – so the treatment needs work. But for those who are looking at the end of a long road of treatment, the results are extremely promising and the risk may be worth it in the face of the possibility of long-term remission.
Though research into a cure for cancer continues to deliver promising results, the families of those who are currently suffering from mesothelioma face a less promising future filled with expensive medical bills, pain, suffering and grief. The mesothelioma attorneys at Danziger & De Llano understand and want to help. Call us today to set up a free consultation. We will look at your situation and determine whether you are eligible for compensation from those who exposed your loved one to asbestos.
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