Nivolumab is one of several promising protocols used in the fight against malignant mesothelioma. The relatively new drug was recently approved in combination with ipilimumab by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of the rare, asbestos-related disease, and with good cause: Clinical tests have repeatedly demonstrated that it extends patient survival. The most recent confirmation of these results comes from the United Kingdom, where a team from the Mesothelioma Research Programme of the University of Leicester found it both helped patients live longer and increased the number of patients who survived for one year after treatment.
Immunotherapy Shows Promise in Mesothelioma Treatment
Though malignant mesothelioma has traditionally been treated using a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy, there is great hope that the addition of immunotherapy will make a significant difference for patients. Nivolumab is a human IgG4 monoclonal antibody that blocks PD-1, the signal that prevents T cells from attacking cancer cells. The UK test is the first randomized, double-blind trial of its use as a single therapy in patients with relapsed mesothelioma after having received platinum-based chemotherapy.
The study, named the CheckpOiNt Blockage For the Inhibition of Relapsed Mesothelioma (or CONFIRM), was created in order to evaluate nivolumab’s effectiveness in both overall survival and progression-free survival, as well as its safety. The researchers determined that the proportion of patients who survived for a year after treatment was higher in the group receiving the immunotherapy treatment than in those treated with placebo by more than 14 percent.
Mesothelioma Diagnoses in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has one of the highest per capita rates of mesothelioma diagnosis in the world, and this statistic drives the passion with which researchers there are seeking effective treatment. The international community continues to collaborate and share data in hopes that someday a cure will be found.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can provide you with many helpful resources. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.