Plos One, an online publication that offers access to peer-reviewed scientific information, recently released some promising results from a study conducted in Stockholm, Sweden, looking into the effectiveness of a variety of mesothelioma medications.
The study looked at a total of six different medications, some of which have long been in use while others have only recently been introduced in mesothelioma treatment.
The drugs were tested on different types of mesothelioma cell lines and were applied by themselves as well as in a variety of combinations to test their effectiveness in killing the dangerous mesothelioma cancer cells.
Among the medications being tested, were four that are familiar to many who follow mesothelioma research. These include pemetrexed, carboplatin, gemcitabine, and doxorubicin, all of which have been found helpful in specific applications for mesothelioma treatment.
The two new medications were selenite, which is derived from selenium, and a proteasome inhibitor called bortezomib. The tests showed that selenite proved to have the greatest effect, impacting four out of six of the mesothelioma cell lines, and was even more effective when combined with the other new drug, bortezomib.
The reason that researchers are looking into treating mesothelioma with combinations of drugs rather than with single applications of a medication is that there are actually three different types of mesothelioma cells: epithelial, sarcomatoid, and mixed. Each of these types of cells respond differently to different medications. Also important to remember is that a single patient can exhibit all three types of cell at the same time.
Mesothelioma is a fatal and rare form of cancer primarily caused by asbestos exposure. The disease is diagnosed in around 3,500 patients each year, with the average life expectancy from time of diagnosis being about two years.
One of the reasons that mesothelioma patients have such a short survival time is that the disease doesn’t make itself known until many years after it has started to grow in the body. By the time that it is diagnosed, it has often spread beyond the point where surgery can be effective.
According to Plos One, the search for new and effective medicines for the treatment of mesothelioma has highlighted the many different ways that the disease can manifest itself from patient to patient. Understanding the ways that medications can work together against a specific type of cell or tumor will aid in physicians’ ability to treat each individual most effectively.