New Mesothelioma Treatment ‘Jump Starts’ Immune Response, According to Surviving Mesothelioma

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A new study detailed on the site Surviving Mesothelioma is showing promising results with the body's immune system. Researchers from several Australian universities say it may help keep mesothelioma from returning after surgery.

Agonistic anti-CD40 antibody is one of the most powerful new cancer immunotherapies.

The study tested anti-CD40 antibody, a compound the research team calls "one of the most powerful new cancer immunotherapies" for its ability to increase the body’s production of tumor-fighting T-cells.

Mesothelioma is a rare but highly-aggressive cancer of the membranes around internal organs. It is directly related to asbestos exposure. Surgery is often used along with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and experimental treatments such as immunotherapy, as part of a multi-modality approach to treatment. Unfortunately, even with adjuvant therapy, it is common for mesothelioma to return after surgery, either in the same spot (local recurrence) or in another place in the body (metastasis).

In the newest test of anti-CD40 antibody, the researchers surgically removed mesothelioma tumors from lab mice but gave the mice more cancer cells to simulate cancer recurrence. When new tumors began to grow, either at the site of the original tumor or in another spot, the mice were treated with anti-CD40 antibody. The anti-CD40 antibody was administered either directly into the growing tumor, in the vicinity of the tumor, or as a systemic treatment through the bloodstream.

"Local or systemic anti-CD40 treatment slowed postsurgical metastatic growth relative to untreated controls (P=0.020) and improved survival from metastasis," the team concluded in a recent issue of The Journal of Immunotherapy. "Anti-CD40 also retarded the growth of local recurrences (P=0.004) and improved survival from recurrence."

Further, the team found that these encouraging results held up even among mice that had had their lymph nodes removed. The most hopeful message for mesothelioma patients is that the Australian researchers believe their findings are "readily translatable" into the clinical practice of mesothelioma patients. Another Australian study in the journal Aging Cell earlier this year found that anti-CD40 antibody could be used to address the declining immunity that makes older people more susceptible to mesothelioma and other cancers.

The latest study originally appears in the Journal of Immunotherapy. (Khong, A, et al, "Agnostic Anti-CD40 Antibody Therapy is Effective Against Postoperative Cancer Recurrence and Metastasis in a Murine Tumor Model", September, 2013, Journal of Immunotherapy, pp. 365-372.

For nearly ten years, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.

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Michael Ellis
Cancer Monthy
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