New genetic research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA could change how we treat mesothelioma. Currently, mesothelioma patients are subject to chemotherapy, surgery, radiation treatment or a combination of these treatments to manage and slow their tumors’ growth. Even with treatment, the mortality rate for mesothelioma is 80 to 90 percent within five years of diagnosis. But now, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found more than 2,500 alterations and 10 mutated genes in their 216 malignant pleural mesothelioma samples. These findings could lead to more specialized types of treatment for patients based on the mutations present in each case.
The breakthrough news doesn’t end there. Some of the genetic mutations found in the mesothelioma tumors sampled have been found in other types of cancer as well, and have existing treatments available. Patients whose tumors contain such mutations can potentially be treated with these existing drugs, reducing the mortality rate of mesothelioma in the United States.
This is a potentially revolutionary discovery in the development of mesothelioma treatment – these overlaps between the mutations found in mesothelioma tumors and other types of cancer tumors have not been observed until now. In fact, genetic testing, also known as genotyping, of mesothelioma patients might become a key part of all future mesothelioma treatment plans.
Although this research could lead to new ways to treat mesothelioma, it also has the potential to aid in the screening, diagnosis and development of outcome predictions for patients suffering from this disease. For example, researchers found that certain alterations and the immune targets that appear with them can act as markers in the body, helping physicians to make more accurate diagnoses in their patients and in turn, more quickly determine the most effective treatment type for each individual.
The results of the study, which was funded through donations from the International Mesothelioma Program, the National Cancer Institute and Genentech, were published in Nature Genetics.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma after a career involving exposure to asbestos, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages via an asbestos exposure claim. Learn more about this type of claim during your case evaluation with Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers proudly serve clients throughout the region, including Chester County, Delaware County and Philadelphia County. Fill out our online contact form or call our firm at 215-569-4000 or toll free at 800-369-0899 to get started on your case today.