Leukemia Drug May Slow Mesothelioma Tumor Growth

Researchers and physicians are joined in the quest to slow or stop the aggressive growth of mesothelioma tumors. While physicians apply methodologies that have been tried and tested, researchers continue to look for other approaches, constantly viewing the puzzle of the disease from different perspectives in the hopes that one will hold the key. One of the most promising theories has to do with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and a group from the University of California has shown success with one that has already been approved for use in treating leukemia.

Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors Can Stop Mesothelioma Tumor Growth

Tyrosine kinases are enzymes that combine with proteins in cells to control their internal functions, but the process is excessive in leukemia and mesothelioma cells, causing them to both grow and to metastasize. This has led to the development of inhibitors that stop the process. One such inhibitor is a drug called ponatinib. Sold under the brand name Iclusig, it has already received FDA approval for the treatment of leukemia, and now University of California researchers testing it on mesothelioma cells have found that it works to halt the growth and spread of asbestos-related cancer too.

The scientists’ original test was meant to evaluate a variety of tyrosine kinase inhibitors to see which – if any – would slow mesothelioma cell growth. Because ponatinib is known for blocking more than one variety of the enzyme, they had hoped that it would work on mesothelioma cells, and their hopes were confirmed. They included four different mesothelioma cell lines in their study, all with high levels of two tyrosine kinases, and found that when exposed to ponatinib their growth was significantly impacted.

Researchers See Different but Strong Inhibition of Mesothelioma Cells

Writing on their findings in the journal Experimental Lung Research, lead author Yi-Wei Yang said, “Differentially but strongly, ponatinib inhibited the in vitro cell growth and migration of all four malignant pleural mesothelioma lines.” He added that the levels of the enzymes and proteins behind their growth were also “markedly decreased following ponatinib treatment.” They also tested the drug on a human mesothelioma tumor in a lab animal and found similar results. They concluded that the drug may “offer a new therapeutic strategy for malignant pleural mesothelioma patients.” 

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need information on treatment options, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today to learn how we can help. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net 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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