Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital reported in March they are having success with a new type of cancer vaccine in tests on mice with ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. This new approach would be easier and more cost effective than current treatments.
Ovarian cancer and mesothelioma have little in common except they are both very difficult to treat. Mesothelioma is what many call an orphan disease. The relatively low number of patients means a small profit for treatments so there are few investors and manufacturers doing research in the field. This study on ovarian cancer just received a grant to continue research for two years. Mesothelioma patients could benefit greatly from this research yielding hope for many with this devastating diagnosis.
Traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation often have terrible side effects. These treatments send toxic levels to the cancer cells causing nausea and fatigue in patients. Immunotherapy is when a patient’s own immune cells are harvested, boosted with tumor antigens and put back in the patient. This process is complex and expensive. Additionally, this treatment is not possible for patients with low number of immune cells because a certain number of cells are needed for this to be a viable treatment option for mesothelioma patients.
This new vaccine works along with the patient’s immune cells. Instead of re-engineering a patient’s cells, research used a protein fused with a tuberculosis bacteria to stimulate the body’s own immune cells to target the cancer cells. This treatment fights the tumor by giving the body, specifically the T cells, the precise information to activate the correct immune cells. Once the T cells have the information from the vaccine’s protein it activates tumor antigens which slow the tumor growth.
The tests on mice with ovarian cancer and mesothelioma showed prolonged survival with this treatment. By awakening and strengthening the immune system, mesothelioma patients’ lives could be extended. Although this research is geared toward ovarian cancer, the treatment option yielded results that may help others fight difficult to treat cancers like mesothelioma.
If you or a loved have been exposed to asbestos or have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please contact the Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our firm has the knowledge and experience you need to fight for fair compensation and hold accountable those responsible for your exposure. Our office is located in Center City Philadelphia and we represent clients throughout the region in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call our office at 800-369-0899 or contact us online and let our experienced mesothelioma lawyers evaluate your claim for free.