Immunotherapy is changing the landscape of cancer treatment. Whether on its own or in conjunction with other therapies, immunotherapy gives patients’ bodies the tools they need to destroy cancer cells. Each disease has unique markers that must be identified for a targeted treatment to be developed. Once researchers get on the right track, the results are increasingly promising. Researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are working with mesothelioma patients as part of an ongoing clinical trial of a novel immunotherapy-radiation therapy combination.
The trial opened in early 2018 for both pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma patients. Both the targeted radiation therapy and new immunotherapy drug, Avelumab, have shown success on their own, and the investigators are hopeful that they will be even more effective together.
Mesothelioma tumor cells produce a PD-L1 protein, which helps them avoid detection by the patient’s immune system. Avelumab helps the immune system target PD-L1 and destroys the cancerous cells. Avelumab has proven effective in combating several cancers, including mesothelioma; in its most recent trial, the drug halted the progression of tumors on an average of 17.1 weeks after treatment and reduced the size of tumors in 10 percent of the patients.
While there are currently multiple active trials around the world involving Avelumab, researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are pairing the drug with targeted radiation. Radiation significantly reduces the risk of recurrence with many types of cancers, acting as a vaccine to prevent additional tumors from developing.
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), a high-dose form of radiation with remarkable accuracy, has proven effective in combating mesothelioma, giving patients an immune boost to help fight the disease. In this trial, patients will receive a dose of Avelumab every two weeks and regular SBRT treatments. Given the immune boosting power of each, researchers are hopeful that they will work well with each other.
The trial is scheduled to conclude in 2020, so this combination therapy is not available to patients yet, but a successful trial would be a significant advance in the treatment of mesothelioma. To be eligible to participate in the trial, a potential candidate must meet the following criteria:
Mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, is a rare and fatal cancer that impacts the lining of the lungs, heart, and chest cavity. It is notoriously resistant to common cancer treatments, leaving patients with few options for recovery.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, call the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our knowledgeable, experienced legal team will fight to obtain the compensation you are entitled. Call us today for a free consultation at 215-569-4000 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.