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Will Combining Drugs Be the Answer to Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma has proven to be one of the most challenging and frustrating forms of cancer for patients and researchers alike. While those who have been diagnosed with the disease are forced to face their own mortality shortly after diagnosis, researchers have been confronted with an endless string of failures in their quest to find a cure. The rare and fatal form of cancer has proven to be resistant to nearly every treatment protocol that science has thrown at it. But that may be changing with the introduction of powerful new immunotherapy drugs that work by using the body’s immune system to attack and kill the cancer cells.

The latest clinical trial that has been looking at these types of drugs has been a study of the effects of combining two powerful immunotherapy medicines to see whether they have a greater effect when paired. One of these drugs is called durvalumab. It was engineered to target a specific protein found on some mesothelioma tumors, and when finding that protein, it targets it and activates the immune system to attack and kill cells containing it. The other is a drug called tremelimumab, which was recently granted orphan drug status by the Food and Drug Administration. Orphan drug status bestows certain monetary benefits on manufacturers who invest in treatment protocols for medications that are not likely to yield much financial gain – it is meant as an encouragement for researchers. The drug’s manufacturer, AstraZeneca, is now combining tremelimumab and durvalumab in treating mesothelioma patients, and has reported an encouraging response rate from 23 percent of the patients on whom the drug combination was used.

What is most notable about the results that were just published in The Lancet Oncology is the fact that the positive results of combining the two drugs as seen in patients who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, with no distinction between those whose tumors had the specific protein that durvalumab was designed to seek. That protein, known as PD-L1, is not always present in mesothelioma patients, and that means that the combination of the drugs can be used without having to first screen the patients to see whether it is present. This is exciting news for researchers and patients alike.

Though scientists continue making strides in understanding the best ways to treat mesothelioma, patients continue to need expensive treatment protocols, and they continue getting increasingly sick and dying. Their families are left with medical bills and grief. The attorneys at Danziger & De Llano are here to help mesothelioma victims to get the compensation that they deserve from the asbestos companies that caused their illness. Call us today 1-800-692-8608 and let us tell you how we can help.

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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