Johns Hopkins’ Researchers Achieve Remarkable Results With New Mesothelioma Treatment

The introduction of immunotherapy has opened a whole new world in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, and researchers testing the protocol to see how best to use it are making remarkable breakthroughs. A Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center study that was just published in the journal Nature Medicine is one of the most notable of these, as physicians there report that by combining durvalumab with pemetrexed and cisplatin or carboplatin yielded median overall survival of 20.4 months in patients with unresectable mesothelioma tumors.

Phase II Clinical Trial Yields Significantly Longer Mesothelioma Survival

The mesothelioma study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy followed 55 patients whose tumors were deemed inoperable. Each was administered a fixed dose of durvalumab intravenously once every three weeks in combination with up to the chemotherapy treatment for up to six cycles. While these patients would typically have a median overall survival of 12 months, the new protocol nearly doubled their survival time. Those identified as having the most common type of mesothelioma tumor – the epithelioid subtype – saw a median overall survival of 24.3 months.

In addition to achieving a remarkable survival extension, the researchers noted a profound difference in the way that different mesothelioma patients’ cancers responded to immunotherapy. They saw that those whose cancers contained a higher number of immunogenic mutations – which tend to be more susceptible to damage and therefore more predisposed to cancer – responded best to the treatment, indicating that these vulnerable cells are more open to the repairs that immunotherapy provides.

Some Mesothelioma Patients in Study Are Still Doing Well

Speaking of the remarkable results achieved by his team, Patrick Forde, M.B.B. Ch., study lead author, director of the thoracic cancer clinical research program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and an associate professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicinesaid, “Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal cancer with limited therapeutic options. The PrE0505 study indicates that concurrent durvalumab with platinum-based chemotherapy has promising clinical activity and that responses are driven by the complex genomic background of malignant pleural mesothelioma. The survival for patients with epithelioid MPM exceeded two years, and some patients with epithelioid MPM who enrolled in the clinical trial continue to be free from tumor progression today.”

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the remarkable work of researchers around the world should give you hope. For information on the resources available to you, 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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