Mesothelioma is a cancer most commonly associated with prolonged exposure to asbestos. Doctors are currently analyzing the effects of immunotherapy, which is a form of treatment that enhances the immune system’s ability to fight disease.
The use of immunology as a form of treatment began in the early 1950s. An Australian researcher named Macfarlane Burnet developed ideas that the human body can often tell healthy tissue from cancerous tissue, but it also misidentifies its own material; this is referred to as immunological intolerance. This knowledge has proven to be useful in treating mesothelioma.
There are several types of immunotherapy currently being analyzed for the treatment of mesothelioma. All of these are in various stages of clinical trials.
Tremelimumab – Tremelimumab is a drug that targets specific proteins involved in tumor growth. Studies have shown disease control in as many as 31 percent of patients. However, there have been gastrointestinal side effects.
Bevacizumab (Avastin) – Bevacizumab is a drug that helps block the formation of new blood vessels supporting cancerous tumors. In recent studies, it has been successful in treating mesothelioma. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recently included bevacizumab in their treatment guidelines as part of a first step for fighting mesothelioma when combined with chemotherapy.
Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) – It has been said that pembrolizumab, a checkpoint inhibitor, is currently the most promising form of immunotherapy for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Checkpoint inhibitors block the interaction of immune cells and tumor cells so that the immune cell attacks the cancerous one. Pembrolizumab has been approved by the FDA for treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Mesothelioma immunotherapy is still being developed through research, clinical trials, and case studies. Fortunately, the advances in biomedical technology have made immunotherapy possible. Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler support clients and their loved ones during the diagnosis of mesothelioma and continuing through the progression of the disease. Our compassionate legal team understands the importance of your treatment and can work to improve the quality of your life. Call us today at 1-800-369-0899 or at 1-215-569-4000, or visit us online to discuss your mesothelioma case with a member of our team.