Will Mesothelioma Ever Be Cured? Exploring New Treatment Options

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that currently has no cure and has limited treatment options. However, with a series of advances, Prof. Van Zandwijk and his team believe that TargoMirs will bring much-needed new and effective treatment to patients with mesothelioma. It is easier to treat and has the best results if caught early, when it is small and has not spread.

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is often an aggressive disease and for most people a cure is not possible. Tests for cancer in people who don't have symptoms are called screening tests. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are mainstays of mesothelioma treatment. They are widely regarded as effective cancer therapies and are offered at most major cancer centers.

Immunotherapy is the best new treatment for mesothelioma. Researchers believe in specific immunotherapy drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors, which improve the immune system to fight mesothelioma. There are two approaches to immunotherapy: active immunotherapy, which uses drugs to improve the immune system, and passive immunotherapy, which adds laboratory-created proteins to what the body currently lacks. Checkpoint inhibitors and oncolytic viruses are types of active immunotherapy, while adoptive cell therapy and monoclonal antibodies are versions of passive immunotherapy.

Both of these drugs are immune checkpoint inhibitors. Keytruda is approved for a small group of cases with high tumor burden. The FDA has not approved any other immunotherapy drugs for mesothelioma. Mesothelioma Virotherapy uses viruses to fight cancer by modifying them to be safe for healthy cells.

Tumor treatment fields are innovative cancer therapy combined with chemotherapy, sending electrical waves through the body to interrupt cell division and cause the death of diseased cells. Photodynamic therapy uses light-reactive chemicals in drugs called photosensitizers, releasing oxygen when light activates these chemicals to kill nearby cancer cells. Gene therapy sends a modified or laboratory-created gene to the patient's body, restructuring defective genes in cancer cells or adding cancer-fighting genes or blocking cancer genes. SMART for Mesothelioma is an innovative multimodal treatment protocol offered at select cancer centers in North America, delivering radiation therapy to patients a few days before aggressive surgery.

Clinical trials explore many of these emerging therapies to test different combinations and new drugs, offering patients with mesothelioma the opportunity to receive immunotherapy, gene therapy or virotherapy medications that are not available in any general hospital or even most mesothelioma cancer centers.

Marissa Trafford
Marissa Trafford

Extreme travel geek. Hardcore food expert. Hardcore web nerd. Lifelong zombie lover. Incurable zombie specialist. Wannabe travelaholic.