Mesothelioma is an often-deadly form of cancer that is associated with prolonged exposure to asbestos. Every year, between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are reported. Currently, there are a few ways doctors treat mesothelioma, including surgery and radiation therapy. The earlier a patient’s mesothelioma is detected and treated, the better that patient’s chance of surviving the illness. Other treatments used in patients with more advanced stage mesothelioma tend to be palliative rather than curative.
A new gene-targeting drug might change mesothelioma treatment for the better. A recent report from the universities of Bradford and Surrey discusses this new drug, known as HRX9. The drug targets cancer cells, which normally survive because of their ability to avoid the process of becoming damaged and dying, known as apoptosis, and prevents them from using this process. By allowing cancer cells to go through this natural self-destructive process, the drug may be able to help people suffering from mesothelioma to fight the disease more naturally in the future.
Many cancers survive by rapidly dividing in the body due to the presence of genes from the HOX family. This is actually a mechanism that all cells have the capability to do as a result of the genes’ presence, but only do during the stages of development before birth. In adults, the HOX genes are “switched off” in healthy cells because rapid division and development are no longer necessary.
Mesothelioma and other cancers rely on the HOX genes to continue dividing because they can avoid apoptosis. This is where HRX9 comes in. By forcing cancer cells, recognized by the body as damaged, to die according to the body’s genetic instructions, the drug can curtail their growth. Currently, there are other drugs in use that use this same process to slow the growth of other cancers. HRX9 is the first drug specifically created to combat mesothelioma in this way.
The research team developing HRX9 found that after three weeks of treatment with the drug, human mesothelioma tumors in lab mice stopped growing. Cancer cells in these tumors died and the blood vessels within the tumors were dramatically reduced.
Currently, the five-year survival rate for individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma is between five and ten percent. The development of HRX9 and other new drugs could change this, making mesothelioma a much less deadly disease in years to come.
If you are suffering from the effects of mesothelioma as a result of working with or in close proximity to asbestos during your lifetime, you could be entitled to recover compensation for your damages. Our team of Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler have years of experience recovering compensation for our clients diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our offices are located in Philadelphia and we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania including in Delaware County, Chester County and Philadelphia County. Fill out our online contact form or call us at 215-569-4000 or toll free at 800-369-0899 to schedule an in-person consultation with our firm today.