Peritoneal mesothelioma is a form of the rare, asbestos-related cancer that forms in the lining that surrounds the abdominal organs. The illness is generally treated using a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and though these treatments can offer extended survival times, the disease eventually returns and is always considered fatal. Now, patients whose disease has returned are submitting to an exciting new treatment protocol being tested by both the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland and Washington University in St. Louis. The approach uses a therapy known as CAR T-cell therapy that modifies cells within the patient’s own immune system with the goal of helping it fight back against the disease and kill cancer cells.
CAR T-cell therapy is already being tested on pleural mesothelioma patients, and has proven highly effective in the treatment of other forms of cancers. The protocol has proven to be both safe and effective enough that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as approved it for use in treating pediatric leukemia, and there is significant enthusiasm about its potential in the treatment of asbestos-related cancers as well. The approach will involve extracting T cells from the patients, modifying them and then returning them directly to the local site where the tumor resides. This represents a shift from previous approaches that administered the modified cells systemically. It is hoped that the direct delivery will provide a faster result.
The CAR T-cell treatment provides the ability for mesothelioma patients to be dosed repeatedly without significant cost or side effects. The plan for the National Cancer Institute study is that patients in the study will be treated once a week for three weeks in a row. The study is expected to extend through the end of 2020, and is open to patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma who are a minimum of four weeks from having received an anti-cancer therapy and who have a minimum life expectancy of three months.
If you are a mesothelioma victim and you would like more information on this study or any other treatment options, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.