Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City is a world leader in mesothelioma research, and the facility has recently launched a clinical trial that will study the efficacy of combining an immunotherapy drug with chemotherapy prior to patients undergoing surgical removal of their tumors. The hope is that patient survival time will be extended by combining Opdivo (nivolumab) with Alimta (pemetrexed) and either cisplatin or carboplatin.
Combination Has Proven Effective With Non-Mesothelioma Tumors
According to thoracic surgeon Dr. Prasad Adusumilli, co-director of the Memorial Sloan Kettering mesothelioma program and leader of the study, the combination of Opdivo and chemotherapy has proven effective at extending longevity in patients with other types of cancers who have required surgery, and their research will assess whether having patients undergo two cycles of the combined therapy prior to pleurectomy and decortication will do the same for mesothelioma patients.
The success of the therapy will be largely determined by whether its use will allow patients to remain on their existing surgical schedule or whether toxicity created by the therapy will cause a delay in surgery. The trial is anticipated to include 35 patients and to be completed in approximately three years.
Only Surgical Candidates Qualify for Study
Because the study is specifically investigating the use of the combination therapy partnered with surgical removal of mesothelioma tumors, only patients who qualify for surgery will be candidates for participation. Those who have already had chemotherapy or immunotherapy will be ineligible.
The research represents a departure from previous studies which have tested the effectiveness of the same drug combination after surgery has taken place. Those results have yielded only marginal success, which Dr. Adusumilli attributes to the body’s immune system responding more effectively to immunotherapy when the tumor is still in place.
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and would like information on this or other clinical trials for which you may be a candidate, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.