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Mesothelioma Researchers Optimistic About New Lymphoma Drug

In the battle against mesothelioma, health advocates often find themselves looking to the cures devised for other, more common forms of cancer in the hope that they will yield a benefit for this rare and often fatal disease. Mesothelioma is a highly unusual cancer that kills approximately, 3,500 people each year. Because it does not attract the same level of attention as cancers that have a larger impact on the population, it does not attract the same level of funding for medical research. In an effort to reduce costs, scientists often look to developments in research in other cancers in the hope that they can take advantage of similarities in the behaviors of the cancer cells. The most recent of these to hold promise involves a drug that has been developed in the fight against lymphoma.

The drug is called brentuximab vedotin and is sold under the brand name Adcetris. It has just been granted an accelerated approval by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of lymphoma, and researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Case Medical Center have released some promising information about the drug for those waging war against mesothelioma as well. The group was aware of the success that brentuximab vedotin has had in lymphoma trials, and is also aware that its action is based on its targeting of a specific protein called CD 30. CD30 acts as a regulator of apoptosis (programmed cell death) through its interaction with other, smaller proteins called cytokines. Research has shown that lymphomas, as well as other cancers such as Hodgkin’s disease, overexpress CD30 and encourage tumor growth in the process.

The researchers from Case decided to try the drug as a mesothelioma treatment. They tested several dozen mesothelioma tumor specimens to determine whether or not they also overexpressed the CD30, ad found that thirteen out of 83 specimens tested did. Those were specifically cell groups that were identified as epithelioid. They then treated the cells with the new drug. In a recent issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the authors reported that “Brentuximab vedotin treatment of cultured mesothelioma cells produced a dose-dependent decrease in cell growth and viability at clinically relevant concentrations. They have concluded that it may provide a benefit to certain mesothelioma patients, particularly because of its ability to distinguish between healthy cells and diseased cells.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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