A new immunotherapy treatment may be on the way for those suffering from mesothelioma. Patients in a Phase 1 trial for a novel T-cell therapy showed promising results, including tumor regression, and the treatment will now move into Phase 2. Mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure, is notoriously difficult to treat; a new treatment that effectively targets mesothelioma tumors could be a game-changer for patients with few other options.
The four malignant mesothelioma patients in the clinical trial, conducted by TCR2 Therapeutics, were treated using TC-210 methodology. TC-210 uses TRuC-T cells, instead of the traditional CAR-T cells, to help immune cells target mesothelin, an antigen produced by mesothelioma tumors. The patients in the trial, which also included one patient suffering from ovarian cancer, all experienced tumor shrinkage or six-month stabilization, with few adverse effects. Each of the patients had undergone previous treatments, which were unsuccessful.
Immunotherapy is a promising branch of cancer treatment that strengthens the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer in multiple ways. In some cases, monoclonal antibodies are designed to target specific antigens and attack and destroy cancerous cells producing them. There are cancer vaccines that help the immune system recognize and respond to types of cancer, similar to the flu vaccine. Some cancer cells can disguise themselves to suppress an immune response, and checkpoint modulators can help reactivate checkpoints to identify the pathogens. There are also passive, or non-specific, forms of immunotherapy, which boost the immune system without targeting a specific protein or antigen.
Challenges in Treating Mesothelioma
Part of the reason mesothelioma is difficult to treat is that it is difficult to diagnose. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, as fibers get trapped in the chest cavity and damage the surrounding tissue for decades, eventually forming tumors. Patients often do not experience symptoms in early stages, and when they do appear, they are usually mild. Symptoms such as persistent cough, chest tightness or pain, difficulty breathing, or abdominal pain can easily be mistaken for other conditions. Physicians may need to run additional tests to rule out other common illnesses before they perform a biopsy and conclusively diagnose mesothelioma. In many cases, patients are diagnosed in later stages of the disease, when it has already spread and is more difficult to treat.
Immunotherapy is not a perfect solution to mesothelioma. Mesothelioma tumors produce few antigens besides mesothelin, and not all patients have mesothelin-producing tumors. There has been success with passive immunotherapy, particularly in managing symptoms such as fluid buildup in the chest, but this treatment is not yet widely available. There are also challenges associated with immunotherapy in patients with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, who may experience adverse effects as their immune systems target healthy cells. More research is needed to determine the best way to use immunotherapy to fight mesothelioma, but the TC-210 study is a step in the right direction.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Advocate for Mesothelioma Patients
Patients suffering from mesothelioma may be entitled to compensation from those responsible for their asbestos exposure. The Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law have successfully represented patients and their families in all types of asbestos exposure cases. Our knowledgeable, experienced legal team will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your treatment and recovery. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.