An ongoing, multicenter, worldwide clinical trial is currently studying the latest immunotherapy drug for malignant mesothelioma. In the meantime, a group of researchers lead by Dr. Michele Maio has found encouraging results from a smaller study done at the University Hospital in Siena, Italy. Dr. Maio recently published the results of an immunotherapy drug called tremelimumab. This smaller, one-center study examined the effectiveness of the drug, which targets the body’s immune system, helping it to destroy mesothelioma cells without damaging healthy ones.
Maio hopes that the results found in their study will be confirmed by the larger one that is underway. The goal, said Maio, is to increase the number of patients who become long-term survivors. Given intravenously, tremelimumab is a step in the right direction because it works to enhance the immune system’s response to mesothelioma.
Maio’s study examined 29 mesothelioma patients from July 30, 2012 to July 15, 2013, all of whom had been previously treated. Each patient was given 10 mg/kg of the drug once every four weeks for six months, followed by every 12 weeks, or until disease progression. Initially, patients received 15 mg/kg every 90 days, but the intensified schedule showed better results while being equally safe.
With the exception of one patient, all 29 had pleural mesothelioma, six were biphasic and 21 had the epithelioid histology. The median age was 65. The one-year survival rate over the course of the enrollment period was 48.3%, a number that Maio finds extremely encouraging. He sees new immunotherapy agents as a revolution in cancer treatment.
Currently, the standard of care for mesothelioma is surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Maio believes that it is just a matter of time before immunotherapies like tremelimumab become part of that standard of care. As a result of the encouraging results of their initial study, Maio and his colleagues will be conducting a new study this summer, which will combine tremelimumab and another immunotherapy drug that targets a different immune system inhibitor, called protein agent PD-L1. This larger study will be a randomized, double-blind study covering 102 locations in over 20 countries around the world. This study is unique in that it combines two drugs. The hope is that the results of this larger study will confirm the effectiveness of immunotherapy.
Maio believes that tremelimumab can lead to long-lasting disease control in patients with advanced malignant melanoma, particularly in patients with better performance status.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or another asbestos-related disease, call the experienced, compassionate New Jersey mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our New Jersey mesothelioma lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injury from asbestos exposure. Our office is located in Center City, Philadelphia and we represent clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call our office at 1-800-369-0899 or contact us online for a free consultation with one of our mesothelioma lawyers.