Bayer pharmaceuticals company had hoped for success with its new experimental drug, anetumab ravtansine, for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. But after a disappointing clinical trial, the company announced yesterday that they would not proceed any further at this time.
Anetumab ravtansine “has missed its primary endpoint of progression-free survival as a second-line monotherapy in 248 patients with recurrent malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a cancer linked with asbestos,” the company stated in a press release.
They added that they would be releasing further details about the study in the near future.
“Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a very difficult-to-treat tumor, and we had hoped for a better outcome for patients,” added Robert LaCaze, executive vice president and head of the Oncology Strategic Business Unit at Bayer.
This particular mesothelioma clinical trial compared the antibody-drug conjugate anetumab ravtansine with vinorelbine (brand name: Navelbine), a standard chemotherapy drug that has been used for several years to treat a wide variety of cancers.
Bayer announced that they would continue testing the drug as therapy for other solid tumors, including ovarian cancer, which has thus far been resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy drugs.
The failure of the trial was no doubt a disappointment to the nearly 250 individuals who participated. Clinical trials are always a virtual crap-shoot, so to speak.
Those who choose to participate in a clinical trial are clearly advised that the drug or other therapy involved in the trial may work or it may not.
But many choose to take the chance simply because it’s the only possibility of a cure or an extension of life, especially in the case of mesothelioma, which is such an aggressive form of cancer that often results in death within a year or so of diagnosis.
Those who participate in clinical trials, however, are providing a great service for others who are currently facing the same predicament or those who might find themselves in the same predicament in the future.
Each trial provides more and more information in regards to treating a particular disease, even when the trial’s results are not as hoped.
The best way to stay abreast of clinical trials for any type of mesothelioma is to speak to the patient’s oncologist. He/she should be able to access information for all current drug trials and can determine whether the patient is a candidate for a particular trial.
The patient can usually participate from their current location but may have to travel in some instances.
Remember, there are no guarantees, but many mesothelioma patients have enjoyed a slightly better life expectancy thanks to experimental drugs, and one never knows when that “magical” drug that beats mesothelioma will come along.