Asbestos exposure can cause deadly respiratory conditions, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer infecting the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. Symptoms of these conditions may not appear for years or even decades after initial exposure; when they do appear, it is often after the disease has progressed to a late stage. Typical cancer treatments may not be effective at this stage, but novel treatments, such as immunotherapy, are showing good results for some patients.
First-line treatments for lung cancer and mesothelioma patients are similar to other forms of cancer and typically include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, or some combination. These treatments are most effective early in the disease’s progression, when it has not yet spread and is easier to target. By the time a patient reaches stage three or four, it is harder to fully eradicate the cancer and preempt a recurrence. Most patients diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer have a short life expectancy.
Immunotherapy treatments work by reprogramming immune cells to more effectively target and eliminate cancerous cells. There are several treatments that fall under this class, the first of which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015. Since then, several immunotherapy tests have been approved for treating lung cancer, and clinical trials have shown promising results for patients with mesothelioma as well. Some patients may even be eligible for immunotherapy as a first-line treatment.
What are Checkpoint Inhibitors?
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are currently the only form of immunotherapy that is widely available for lung cancer patients. Immune cells have checkpoints which, when activated, prevent them from attacking certain types of cells; because cancer cells are the body’s own mutated cells, they are often able to activate these checkpoints and prevent an immune response. There are several types of checkpoint inhibitor drugs, all of which are delivered intravenously and work by targeting specific immune checkpoints. Some drugs inhibit proteins PD-1 and PD-L1 from interacting with receptors on the cancer cells in order to help the immune cells recognize them as foreign and work to eliminate them. Others block the CTLA4 pathway, allowing more immune cells to fight the cancerous cells.
Other types of immunotherapy currently include clinical trials have helped lung cancer and mesothelioma patients increase their survival rates. There are therapeutic cancer vaccines in development that have proven effective in controlling tumor growth by targeting proteins in the cancer cells. Adoptive T cell therapy involves removing the patient’s T cells by plasmapheresis and altering them to help them fight cancer cells. Certain patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer may also receive monoclonal antibody therapy, which can inhibit tumor blood vessel growth and other protein pathways within cancerous cells. While not all of these treatments will work for certain types of asbestos-related cancer, having more treatment options can make a big difference in a patient’s prognosis.
Philadelphia Asbestos Attorneys at Shein Law Obtain Compensation for Asbestos Exposure Victims
The Philadelphia asbestos attorneys at Shein Law provide comprehensive representation to those suffering from asbestos-related diseases. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at-fault for your asbestos exposure and hold them accountable. We are committed to getting you the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your treatment and recovery. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help asbestos exposure victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online for an initial consultation.