A new mesothelioma study has identified the FDA-approved drug disulfiram as a potential treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma. The drug is sold under the brand name Antabuse and is typically used to treat chronic alcoholism. Its effects have also been studied for other conditions including several forms of cancer, cocaine dependence, and the HIV virus. Disulfiram’s special ability to bind to copper allows it to combat the elevated levels of copper typically found in cancer patient’s blood serum. It can potentially suppress the growth of malignant tumors and make chemotherapy treatment more effective.
The study analyzed the effects of administering copper complex disulfiram (DSF-Cu) to mice infected with human mesothelioma as well as mesothelioma cells contained in a test tube. The trials were led by researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine and concluded with promising results. For mice given 50mg of DSF-Cu per kilogram of bodyweight, their malignant pleural mesothelioma tumors stopped growing. For the mesothelioma cells within the test tube, the DSF-Cu injections caused the cells to destroy themselves in a process called apoptosis. Researchers found that the injections inhibited both cell growth and the metastasis process.
Mesothelioma is characterized by its long lag period between a victim’s unexpected exposure to asbestos and their diagnosis years later. About 2,500 people are diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease annually in the U.S. and the high mortality rates make it especially concerning. Researchers believe their study highlights the potential for DSF-Cu to be used as an anti-tumor agent for the difficult-to-treat cancer. Since disulfiram is low-risk and has a low toxicity level, patients that struggle with the harsh effects of other chemotherapy medications will particularly benefit from the newly FDA-approved drug.
When you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, finding the cause or holding the responsible party accountable is complex and challenging. The Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler have 30 years of experience collecting evidence and creating the strongest possible case for their clients. Those who have been injured by asbestos exposure may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For a review of your case, call us today at 215-569-4000 or contact us online.