March 7, 2012 – The Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law in Philadelphia are dedicated to keeping mesothelioma patients and their families informed on the most current treatments for asbestos-related cancers. Our lawyers are sensitive to the impact a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis can have on you and your family. Attorney Ben Shein and his entire team of Philadelphia Asbestos lawyers make it a priority to keep you informed as researchers continually strive to find effective treatments for this life threatening disease. Mr. Shein is a renowned litigator in mesothelioma and asbestos exposure lawsuits and has successfully represented mesothelioma patients and their families for over 25 years.
Researchers Study New Techniques to Fight Pleural Malignant Mesothelioma
Researchers are continually studying and testing new approaches to manage pleural malignant mesothelioma. Advancement in early detection and improvement in the treatment of cancer is ongoing, but mesothelioma remains difficult to treat effectively. The latest treatment plans often merge established treatments with totally original innovations striving toward the goal that a certain combination will be proactive in slowing down the process of mesothelioma cancer. In addition, researchers are learning more and more about cancer cells and how they differ from normal cells. This is helpful in determining new drugs that will specifically target the tumor and spare patients severe side effects.
Researchers know that Anti-Angiogenesis Drugs stop tumors from secreting growth factors. Growth factors stimulate not only healthy cell growth, but cancer cell growth as well. When you inhibit the growth factors, you cut off the signal that tells cancer cells to spread and new blood vessels do not form. By not allowing new blood vessels to form, researchers believe that tumors will remain benign which gives mesothelioma patients the opportunity for additional, effective treatments.
The goal o f immunotherapy is to restore or improve the immune system’s normal anti-cancer function. The substances used in immunotherapy improve the body’s capability to battle mesothelioma and other cancer diseases. While some of these substances are naturally produced by the body, they can also be produced in laboratories. The substances have the potential to increase one’s immune system so that it can fight cancer cell growth or make the cancer cells vulnerable to destruction. It is possible that these immunotherapy drugs could obstruct or overturn the process that changes a normal cell to a cancer cell.
In December of 2011, a Penn Medicine study funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Benjamin Shein Foundation for Humanity reported that by combining immune-gene therapy techniques and other current mesothelioma treatments the progression of early-stage mesothelioma is slowed. . In the study, the Penn team, led by Daniel Sterman, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division, and Director of Interventional Pulmonology, tested a new gene therapy approach in which an adenovirus – a modified cold virus – was altered to express high levels of a powerful immune system stimulant called interferon-alpha. The virus was injected directly into the chest cavities of patients with mesothelioma tumors causing the interferon-alpha to be produced at high levels within the tumor. This stimulated an activation of the patients’ own immune systems against the disease, with antibody responses against the tumors in almost all of the patients.
In January 2012, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) received FDA approval. This treatment slows down the process of mesothelioma. The cancer cells are first treated with photosensitive drugs which makes the cells susceptible to the exposure of light. When light is injected into the mesothelioma tumor, the light activates the photosensitive drug which has gathered in the body tissue and as the light is absorbed, an active form of oxygen destroys the cancer cells.
The primary target for Gene Therapy is the cancer-causing gene. Gene Therapy is a promising treatment that is focused on “fixing” the disease at the DNA level and balancing abnormal genes. Replacement Gene Therapy replaces an altered or lost gene with a normal copy of a gene that can keep cell growth under control. In an effort to make the cancer cells inactive and reduce their growth, Knockout Gene Therapy can be used to target a gene that may stimulate a tumor to form.
Dual Stage Method of Using Chemotherapy Drugs to Treat Mesothelioma
In June 2011, a clinical study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed that a Dual-Stage Method is another approach to increase the amount of drug delivered to the attack tumor cells. The method insures that the healthy cells around the malignant tumor are not harmed while only the tumor cells receive the lethal dose of the chemotherapy drugs. In stage one, a drug seeks out the tumor cells and then signals the stage two drugs to hit the tumor. This two-stage method was found to be more effective than a single stage method.
New Chemotherapy Drugs Effectively Treating Mesothelioma
In an effort to find the most positive outcome for mesothelioma patients, new chemotherapy drugs are continually emerging, as well as ongoing adjustments to how and when the drugs are used. The drug company that manufactures the chemotherapy drug Alimta is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration to use it as a maintenance drug in mesothelioma and other lung cancer patients. A recent study showed that patients who continually take Alimta after their initial treatment had longer durations of progression-free time. The side effects from Alimta are also less severe than other chemotherapy drugs.
Another laboratory specializing in chemotherapy treatments recently announced improvements in patients who took Ganetespib. Patients who were on this treatment experienced minimal side effects. This drug was also effective in mesothelioma patients whose diseases did not respond well to conventional chemotherapy drugs. This drug slows down a protein known as “Heat Shock Protein 90” which is needed to create the right conditions that can induce cancer cell growth.
For More Information, Contact the Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law
Knowing their studies will lead to new treatments for mesothelioma patients, persistent researchers continue to strive to increase their knowledge of cancer cells and how they differ from normal cells. The progression of effective treatments and therapy plans available to mesothelioma patients will continue to expand. As developments in treatment continue to become public, Shein Law seeks to bring our clients the latest information and options in combating mesothelioma. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, contact us online for compassionate, experienced and knowledgeable legal representation.