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Can a Malaria Drug Treat Mesothelioma?

malaria mesotheliomaMesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure, is notoriously difficult to treat effectively using standard cancer therapies. Some of the most significant breakthroughs in mesothelioma treatment have been repurposing drug regimens that have proven effective in treating other diseases. Researchers are exploring the possibility of using a malaria drug to combat tumor formation in mesothelioma patients, which could prove to be a powerful weapon in fighting this deadly disease.

A recent study involving the drug quinacrine was conducted by collaborating researchers from multiple institutions, including Penn State, Texas Tech, Keck Graduate University, and St. John’s University in Queens, New York, and their findings were published in the International Journal of Molecular Science. Researchers treated mesothelioma cell lines with quinacrine and saw impressive results; the quinacrine appeared to prevent mesothelioma cells from congregating and forming cell clusters that would develop into tumors. The treated cells and the simulations on a 3D culture also showed mesothelioma cell death, as well as the prevention of blood vessel growth, which can help to limit tumor progression.

Quinacrine Already has Multiple Uses

 Repurposing drugs to treat different conditions is a common and effective strategy, and it is not the first time quinacrine has been repurposed in this way. Quinacrine was originally used to treat malaria and was once the most popular treatment for that disease. Today, it is most commonly used to treat diarrhea resulting from a protozoal infection, but it is also used to help patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. If quinacrine proves effective in treating mesothelioma, it could be a remarkable fourth act for this versatile drug.

Mesothelioma patients often face a poor prognosis with a short life expectancy. Patients who are diagnosed in an earlier stage, before the tumors have had a chance to spread, have a better chance of survival; the average life expectancy for a pleural mesothelioma patient is 22.2 months when diagnosed in stage I, versus only 14.9 months when diagnosed in stage IV. Patients in earlier stages also have more treatment options, including surgery. Surgically removing tumors can improve a patient’s prognosis, and the more aggressive the surgery, the better the result. Once the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, patients are no longer eligible for surgery.

The difficulty with treating mesothelioma early in its progression is catching it early enough. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they lodge in the chest cavity and damage the surrounding tissue until tumors eventually form; this process can take decades. When tumors begin to form, patients often do not experience symptoms right away. Early symptoms of the disease include persistent cough, difficulty breathing, and pain or tightness in the chest, which can easily be mistaken for other respiratory conditions. Common cancer symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, chronic pain, and fever appear in later stages of the disease, by which time the patient is unlikely to survive for long. If further testing shows that quinacrine can slow tumor progression, this could be the key to lengthening survival rates.

Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Obtain Justice for Mesothelioma Patients

 If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law are here to help. We will hold those responsible for your asbestos exposure accountable and fight for the compensation to which you are entitled. 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.

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