Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are three of the top treatments for malignant mesothelioma, and research is suggesting that immunotherapy may soon be added to the list, but now scientists from Nagoya University are adding another potential tool to oncologists’ toolbox: they say that tests of near-infrared irradiation combined with a cancer-targeting compound have been yielding promising results, and they plan on conducting further studies and enhancements to the technique.
Photoimmunotherapy Causes Sudden Mesothelioma Cell Death
According to an article published in the journal Cells, oncologist Kazuhide Sato and colleagues from the noted Japanese institution investigated the use of near-infrared photoimmunotherapy as a treatment strategy for malignant pleural mesothelioma. They combined a photoabsorber called IR700 with the NZ-1 antibody, which targets a glycoprotein found in high levels on mesothelioma tumor cells.
The photoabsorber attracts the rays of the near-infrared photoimmunotherapy, and when it is combined with the antibody that automatically targets the mesothelioma cells it focuses the therapy on those cells and leads to the cells swelling up and rupturing. The treatment has already proven so successful that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has fast-tracked it for approval for treatment of a specific type of head and neck tumor.
Researcher Points to Multiple Benefits of Phototherapy in Treating Mesothelioma
According to Dr. Sato, there are many reasons why this treatment could prove to be a game changer for mesothelioma patients. “The lungs and chest cavity contain a large amount of air and are thus very good at effectively transmitting near-infrared light,” he said. “NIR-PIT is a safe phototherapy option that can target a region of interest. The antibody-IR700 conjugate is also non-toxic to the body in the absence of near-infrared light irradiation. We thus thought that NIR-PIT could be an effective strategy for controlling localized MPM.”
The initial study has been conducted on laboratory animals with malignant pleural mesothelioma tumors. The researchers were able to see that the treatment resulted first in a fluorescence in the areas where the cancer cells existed, followed by the fluorescence diminishing, which was an indication that the cancer cells were gone and the treatment had worked.
If you or someone you love is being treated for malignant mesothelioma and you would like information on state-of-the-art treatment, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.