Those diagnosed with mesothelioma have a new treatment option for the first time in 15 years. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a new first-line therapy that uses electric fields to treat tumors in combination with chemotherapy. The treatment, called Novocure, uses low-intensity alternating electric fields to specifically target and inhibit the replication and division of cancer cells. The therapy is intended as a first treatment for unresectable, locally advanced, or metastatic mesothelioma. The treatment represents a major development for treating this aggressive form of cancer and offers hope for mesothelioma patients.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a particularly difficult form of cancer to treat. Airborne asbestos causes this form of cancer when inhaled fibers lodge in the chest cavity and other organs. Asbestos was used extensively throughout the 1970s in shipbuilding, automotive, plumbing, and insulation work due to its heat-resistant and insulating properties. Mesothelioma can take decades to develop and when diagnosed, could have already progressed into a later stage of cancer, making treatment even more difficult.
Those particularly at risk include workers who were exposed to asbestos in these industries, as well as in the United States military, where it was used extensively in shipbuilding. Until now, the treatment was limited to chemotherapy drugs and surgery, but this new therapy provides a new option with an extended survival rate for patients. The clinical study found that patients receiving a combination of Novocure and chemotherapy had a median survival rate of 18 months, while the standalone chemotherapy patient survival rate was just over 12 months.
The system is intended to be used readily at home by patients with a backpack-sized system containing the electric delivery system, power supply, and portable battery. The electric treatment is delivered through a system of attachments placed on the patient’s upper torso and provides electrical current tuned to specific frequencies for these cancer cells. The clinical study found that the most documented adverse side effect was skin irritation in nearly half the patients. However, the most severe skin effects were only reported in four percent of those studied. Patients who were not candidates for the Novocure electric field treatment were those who had implantable electronic medical devices, such as automatic defibrillators or pacemakers.
Because there is no current cure for mesothelioma, this new option provides hope and possible extended survival times for many patients. As new technologies in all forms of cancer treatment develop, those suffering from this fatal disease may see more options for treatments.
If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact a Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyer at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler today. We will fight to obtain the medical care and compensation you deserve. Complete our online form or call us at 215-569-4000 for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.