Immunotherapy is one of the most promising treatments currently under investigation for all types of cancers, including the rare and fatal cancer known as malignant mesothelioma.
For mesothelioma patients and researchers alike, immunotherapy offers the greatest hope for successful treatment in the face of disappointing results from more traditional approaches, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Two new clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of the innovative protocol on mesothelioma are about to begin.
The first, to be conducted by the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, will test the immunotherapy drug Lynparza, while the second will be testing Lynparza in combination with a similar drug called niraparib at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Research into Lynparza’s impact on mesothelioma follows successful tests on breast and ovarian cancers. The targeted drug is a protein inhibitor, and previous studies of its use in combination with niraparib have shown the ability to kill mesothelioma cells in the laboratory.
Both drugs have been particularly effective for cancers appearing in patients with a mutation in the BRCA gene, which is commonly seen in breast and ovarian cancers.
Though the BRCA gene is not commonly seen in mesothelioma patients, that gene mutation is similar to the BAP1 gene mutation that is more commonly present in patients with the asbestos-related disease. Researchers are hoping that the two are close enough that the drugs yield similar positive results, as well as in patients who do not test positive for any type of gene mutation at all.
The NIH trial will be approximately two years long, and those who are interested in participating can apply through the NIH website. To qualify, patients must have been diagnosed with progressive malignant mesothelioma, have finished a course of chemotherapy, and have a prognosis of at least 16 weeks.
To learn more about clinical trials and other resources available to patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608. We are here to help.