Whether you’re talking about malignant mesothelioma or any other form of cancer, all eyes are on immunotherapy as the future of treatment. Immunotherapy drugs have triggered the body’s immune response, countering cancer’s ability to escape the immune system in many types of the disease.
Unfortunately, not all immunotherapy drugs work on all types of cancer. Tremelimumab, an immunotherapy drug manufactured by AstraZeneca, had been tested on mesothelioma patients in an international clinical trial. It and had even received orphan drug status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but delivered results that left researchers disappointed and ready to abandon its use.
Now, a smaller study revealed that tremelimumab may yet deliver on its initial promise when combined with another drug called durvalumab.
A group of Italian researchers published a study in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine reporting that the combination of the two may deliver improved effectiveness for both while maintaining a good safety profile.
Tremelimumab works by attaching itself to a specific protein found on white blood cells, then preventing that protein from stopping cells from fighting back against cancers like mesothelioma.
When patients diagnosed with either pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma were given the drug in combination with durvalumab over a four-month period followed by additional maintenance doses of durvalumab, almost one third showed an immune-related partial response. Two thirds achieved disease control that lasted a median of 16.1 months.
Median overall survival was a bit longer at 16.6 months. Patients generally tolerated the treatment well, with researchers indicating that “treatment-related toxicity was generally manageable and reversible with protocol guidelines.”
Though a similar study conducted earlier had results that were not as promising, the result obtained by the Italian researchers were enough to warrant continued study of tremelimumab’s use in mesothelioma patients.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, immunotherapy and other innovations offer significant hope. For information on where to find these treatments as well as other resources for those affected by asbestos-related diseases, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.