New Mesothelioma Treatment Shows Promise

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Non-toxic vaccine clinical trial, funded by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, publishes successful results for mesothelioma treatment.

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The prospect of adding to our arsenal other effective, but less toxic and better-tolerated, treatments will broaden greatly our ability to treat patients.

A new dendritic cell-based immunotherapy has been demonstrated in clinical trial to be well-tolerated and capable of inducing an immunological response against mesothelioma cells in patients.

In the study, funded by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and just published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers administered three vaccinations of clinical-grade autologous dendritic cells to ten pleural mesothelioma patients. Distinct immunological responses, with moderate fever as the only side-effect, and with no evidence of autoimmunity or severe toxicities, mark an important milestone in mesothelioma research.

“For the past several years, aggressive chemotherapy has been utilized as an often effective, but difficult-to-tolerate, drug regimen for mesothelioma treatment. The prospect of adding to our arsenal other effective, but less toxic and better-tolerated, treatments will broaden greatly our ability to treat patients,” says Mary Hesdorffer, NP, Medical Liaison for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

Joachim G. Aerts, a co-author of the research study and pulmonary physician at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, says: “We hope that by further development of our method it will be possible to increase survival in patients with mesothelioma and eventually vaccinate persons who have been in contact with asbestos to prevent them from getting asbestos-related diseases.”

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the lining of the lung, abdomen or heart caused by asbestos. Medical experts consider it one of the most aggressive of all cancers. For decades it was regarded as untreatable, deadly and hopeless; and so, in a sad, self-fulfilling prophecy, the need for research to develop effective treatments was mostly ignored. For the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and today’s patients, their families, and the millions of Americans who in the last five decades have been exposed to asbestos and are at risk for the cancer, this is unacceptable.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is the national non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for mesothelioma by funding research, providing education and support for patients, and leading advocacy efforts for a national commitment to end the mesothelioma tragedy. The Foundation hosts the annual International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, which unites doctors, researchers, patients and families, legal advocates, union representatives and other concerned individuals to share information and advance mesothelioma research. For more information visit http://www.curemeso.org.

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