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Researchers Find New Method of Testing Cancer Drugs for Mesothelioma

Researchers from the University of Leicester and the MRC Toxicology Unit in the United Kingdom have revealed the results of a new study, indicating that they may have found a better way to gauge how mesothelioma patients respond to cancer-fighting drugs. Using a method referred to as “explants”, the scientists believe that their methodology is much more reflective of real-world responses of individual patient cancers than previous laboratory or clinical trial-based tests.

The method, which has been tested on patients suffering from malignant mesothelioma as well as other forms of lung cancer, takes samples of malignant tumors that have been removed during surgery, then uses cells from those tumors to test the impact of various chemotherapy and cancer drugs in the lab. According to study leaders Professor Catrin Pritchard and Dr. Howard Pringle of the University of Leicester Cancer Research Centre and Professor Marion MacFarlane of the MRC Toxicology Unit at Leicester, by testing real patient cancers in the laboratory, their testing method is more patient relevant: it is also less expensive, faster, immediately reproducible, and most important of all, more accurate in its ability to predict how well a specific medication will work on a specific patient’s illness.

The method is reflective of the customized approach to treating mesothelioma that has proven successful in other areas. Physicians have proven that by focusing on a patient’s individual cell type, health condition and other variables, longer survival times and improved quality of life is achievable. They also have turned to this approach because of frustration with existing protocols. Professor Pritchard says, “Despite the huge level of investment into the development of new anti-cancer drugs by academia and the pharmaceutical industries, most do not deliver patient benefit in the clinic.” Professor MacFarlane went on to say,  “This work is important, as it will reduce the attrition rates of cancer drug development and improve the efficiency and speed with which anti-cancer drugs are incorporated into the clinic to give patient benefit. This will also substantially reduce the costs of developing novel anti-cancer drugs.”

For patients who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the idea of testing a drug on their specific tumor makes good sense. If you are in need of more information about similar innovations in mesothelioma care, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.

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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