Mesothelioma has long been one of the most difficult forms of cancer to treat. Hard to detect until its late stages, due to an extended latency period, it almost always appears in Stage 3 or 4 when mesothelioma treatment options are fewer and the disease has progressed to the point where metastases is nearly always present. Chemo and radiation may be able to relieve some of the symptoms of the disease and surgery is sometimes an option. Still, the life expectancy remains short for most mesothelioma patients.
However, a pair of scientists from Sydney, Australia have reported success with a new therapy that’s currently in the trial stage. Dr. Jennifer MacDiarmid and Dr. Himanshu Brahmbatt from EnGeneIC, a Sydney- and New York-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, report that a therapy they’re referring to as a “Trojan horse” has resulted in “near complete elimination” of symptoms in a male mesothelioma patient that is participating in the trial.
9News of Sydney reports that the drug, which is also being used in trials with dogs who have brain tumors, uses bacterially-derived nanocells to enter cancer cells and deliver anti-cancer drugs that will kill the cells from the inside out. The therapy is also thought to stimulate the body’s natural anti-tumor immune response, reports the news story.
“A remarkable result has been achieved where one late-stage patient has had near complete elimination of his tumor and many others have achieved stable disease (cancer neither decreasing or increasing),” Dr MacDiarmid said, noting that the results of the trial would be appearing this week in a peer-reviewed international medical journal.
These results bring great hope to cancer patients in a world where the most successful chemo drug for mesothelioma treatment – Alimta© – generally hasn’t added more than a few months to a year to the life of those whose treatment regimen includes this FDA-approved drug from manufacturer Eli Lilly.
Sadly, however, because mesothelioma carries such a sure death sentence, those currently suffering from the disease will most likely not be around to enjoy the benefits of this new therapy, if and when it is approved for use in the United States.
Frustration isn’t new to these patients. Many of them are simply frustrated – and angered – by the fact that their mesothelioma was likely caused by others who had no regard for their health. In most instances, mesothelioma diagnoses could have been avoided had employers refused to use asbestos products or – at the very least – warned employees that the products were dangerous. However, because these hazards were rarely addressed, generations of individuals are sick or have died due to asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma is an expensive disease. Treatment is costly, and not everyone is covered in full by their medical insurance. Furthermore, if victims are still employed they must stop working, further suffering from loss of income.
In addition, families often need to hire caretakers, purchase special medical equipment, and/or otherwise alter their own employment situation to care for a sick loved one. No wonder so many mesothelioma victims have sought compensation from those responsible for their disease.
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, you MUST educate yourself as to the particulars of filing suit against those who negligently exposed you (or your family member) to asbestos or asbestos products. Compensation may be available to you, but rules and statutes of limitation apply.