Category Archives: Mesothelioma Treatment

Potential mesothelioma treatment undergoes trials for ovarian cancer

Bionomics, a biotechnology company, is planning clinical trials for its cancer treatment drug BNC105. Discussions with medical leaders in both Australia and the US have been undertaken by the company in an effort to prepare for upcoming trials. Currently undergoing testing for use on renal cancer and mesothelioma, Bionomics foresees use of BNC105 in treatment of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is considered the fifth leading cause of deaths amongst cancer cases in women. Although mesothelioma has historically affected more men than women, current mesothelioma patient demographics show that more women may now be at risk of mesothelioma.

Known for decades as an industrial disease, mesothelioma was associated with manufacturing labor, large refinery operations, shipbuilding and other such large-scale work arenas through much of the nineteen hundreds. These operations used asbestos either in process or as an additive for end products. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be mined from the earth. Although it has been used heavily in product development and construction, and continues to be used worldwide, it is known to cause rare cancer mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma affects an estimated twenty thousand people annually around the world. Characterized by a long latency period, mesothelioma patients do not usually know they are developing the disease for twenty to fifty years after original asbestos exposure. Once asbestos fibers are inhaled they can begin a mutation in otherwise healthy tissues. Most commonly occurring in protective lung lining, malignant mesothelioma tumors grow in irregular patterns without demonstrating external symptoms.

Proper diagnosis of mesothelioma typically follows display of bronchitis or pneumonia like symptoms. These symptoms do not show up until mesothelioma’s more aggressive stage, after the long latency period. Mesothelioma treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy; these are considered palliative, as there is no cure for mesothelioma. Average life expectancy following diagnosis is eighteen months.

Deborah Rathjen, Chief Executive of Bionomics, said of the upcoming trials, “It has always been Bionomics’ intention to initiate further clinical trials of BNC105. The decision to undertake a clinical trial in women with ovarian cancer has followed extensive consultation with key opinion leaders in Australia and the US.”

Bionomics drug BNC105 would be a welcome addition to mesothelioma treatment options. Mesothelioma case numbers are on the rise worldwide, with as many as ninety thousand cased expected annually if asbestos use continues to go unchanged.

Mesothelioma patient self-prescribes vitamins, exercise, and triathlon

Unlike many fathers who spent time with their families over special lunches or dinners this past Father’s Day, Larry Davis took part in a Father’s Day Weekend Triathlon. Even more unorthodox than the way he spent his Father’s Day, is his reasoning; Davis took his daughter’s advice and signed up for the triathlon as a “good distraction” from hid day in and day out battle against rare cancer mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a respiratory cancer caused by asbestos, most often affecting lung-lining tissue. Characterized by a long latency period—often twenty to fifty years—mesothelioma patients are typically diagnosed later in life, well past a time when standard mesothelioma treatments have any curative effects.  Much like his choices for Father’s Day celebrations, Davis’s mesothelioma treatments have veered from the well-beaten path.

Although Davis is scheduled for his fifth mesothelioma surgery later this month, he has chosen a non-traditional approach to fighting cancer. Rather than the standard chemotherapies and radiation treatments prescribed, Davis has combated mesothelioma with vitamins, supplements and exercise to boost his immune system.

Davis recognizes the rarity of his health choices. He says, “I’m an enigma in a lot of ways. This thing (mesothelioma) is like going to a casino. To win, you have to be very lucky. It’s designed for you to lose. All you’re trying to do in the fight is make the odds a little more in your favor.

“The health care side of this has been a nightmare. There are too many doctors out there — some so-called authorities — who don’t really know what they’re doing, using treatments from the ’70s that just don’t work, copying someone else’s failures. I would have been dead long ago, if I had listened to some of the medical professionals and the treatments they suggested. I’ve learned the hard way that there are some pain medications, even some anesthetics, that (do) more harm than good.”

In preparation for the Triathlon this past weekend Davis took swimming lessons. “I was a runner. I’ve always run,” he said. “Swimming just isn’t my thing. I might be the only one in the race this weekend wearing water wings. I’ve become proof that a rock can swim. The triathlon has taken my mind off the surgery, and it has forced me to become healthier and physically stronger for the surgery.”

Davis has committed much of his time to raising awareness and funds for mesothelioma research. In the upcoming International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, in Washington, D.C., June 23-25, Davis—and Linda Reinstein, founder of Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization—will receive the Volunteer of the Year Award.

This past weekend however, Davis and his daughter Courtney were focused on their triathlon goals and time together. Courtney said, “There is nowhere else I’d rather be on Father’s Day than with him in a triathlon. With this next surgery, we don’t know what’s around the corner for him, but he’s always been a fighter. And he’s not about to give up this fight anytime soon.”

Prophylactic irradiation therapy not recommended for mesothelioma treatment

A recent study by a group of Oxford researchers has led to the suggestion that prophylactic irradiation therapy (PIT) is not a good choice in the treatment of mesothelioma patients. PIT necessitates the use of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), a procedure using small puncture wounds to insert video technology to aid in isolating problem areas, rather that a larger scale open surgery. The concern with VATS is that the puncture sights could raise the patients potential for metastases, development of cancer ‘seeds’ which could create a greater spread of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer affecting the lining of lungs and other abdominal cavities. It grows in irregularly patterned tumors making it difficult to isolate and treat. Mesothelioma is also characterized by a long latency period, often between twenty and fifty years, in which the tumors develop, grow and spread, but cause no noticeable signs or symptoms. By the time symptoms demonstrate, the cancer is so far gone mesothelioma treatments only extends life expectancy and add to quality of life.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a toxic chemical used for decades in multiple industries in America and around the world. Today, building and equipment components contain countless components comprised of asbestos. As these materials break down and are destroyed with wear and damage, asbestos fibers are released into the air, threatening public health and safety.

Researchers conducted the study by closely examining over 300 case papers, specifically focusing on 9 incidents of mesothelioma. They concluded that PIT for mesothelioma patients might do more harm then good. In a report in Journal of Interactive and Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery, they said, “One trial found that 23% of radiotherapy patients developed tract metastases compared to 10% of control patients… Time from procedure to tract metastases was in fact shorter in patients treated with RT (2.4 month RT vs. 6.4 months control). Another trial found that seeding of metastatic tumor to the intervention site occurred in 7% of RT sites vs. 10% of control sites.”

However, other papers have been written stating that no significant differences could be noted between mesothelioma patients who did or did not receive PIT using VATS. These reports encouraged providers to use PIT as an appropriate form of treatment for mesothelioma as long as consistent observation of the puncture wounds was included in follow-up care. One study actually showed there was a higher number of metastases occurrence in the control group than the group undergoing PIT. Other random studies have had varying results. Overall, metastases has not shown to limit life expectancy of mesothelioma patients.

New clinical trials for pleural mesothelioma

Italian biotechnology company, MolMed S.p.A., is expanding clinical trials of their new drug NGR-hTNF to Europe and the US. Currently being tested in ten Italian facilities, NGR-hTNF has been developed for treatment of pleural mesothelioma. NGR-hTNF has been designated as an ‘orphan drug’ in the US, which means its target disease is an ‘orphan disease,’ affecting less than 200,000 people at a time.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the abdominal cavity lining. Pleural mesothelioma is specific to mesothelioma of the lung lining, while peritoneal mesothelioma is that of other abdominal linings, such as the heart. Pleural mesothelioma is the more common of the two, affecting about three thousand Americans each year and an estimated ninety thousand worldwide.

Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers and dust can begin a mutative development if inhaled or ingested. Often taking twenty to fifty years to show signs and symptoms, mesothelioma grows irregularly patterned malignant tumors through the affected area. Many mesothelioma patients have no idea they were ever exposed to asbestos, making diagnosis difficult. Symptoms mimic those of pneumonia and bronchitis, so once patients do seek a physician’s counsel, proper diagnosis can be further postponed.

There is no known cure for mesothelioma. Many treatments are used to make patients as comfortable as possible and to extend life expectancy, which currently averages eighteen months following diagnosis. Mesothelioma treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and pain management.

Three hundred and ninety patients are expected to participate in the upcoming NGR-hTNF clinical trials. All patients have been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma and have undergone at least one round of treatment using the current standard pemetrexed-based chemotherapy. These new studies will focus on patients quality of life, survival times, progression-free times, and disease control in response to NGR-hTNF. Not only will the results of the clinical trials be a welcome addition in the medical community, but the studies will allow many mesothelioma patients to receive new, cutting edge treatments. Results are expected in 2013.

Garlic intake may aid in the fight against mesothelioma

Garlic has been hailed as a culinary necessity, a medicinal wonder and even a ward against vampires. Now, studies show garlic may help in the prevention and fight against rare cancer mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers which can begin a cancerous development in abdominal cavity lining if inhaled. Characterized by a long latency period, often between twenty and fifty years, mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose. When symptoms do begin to show they mimic those of pneumonia and bronchitis further postponing proper diagnosis and treatment.

About three thousand Americans suffer with mesothelioma each year. Following diagnosis patient life expectancy ranges between six months and five years, averaging eighteen months. Many patients have no idea they were ever exposed to asbestos and therefore never think to consult a specialist about the possibilities of mesothelioma. There is no cure for this cancer; mesothelioma treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Studies have already shown that garlic is beneficial against high blood pressure and high cholesterol and acts as an immune system support. Allicin, a chemical contained in garlic bulbs released when the bulb is cut, has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal in properties. Research is proving that garlic’s allicin may also aid in cancer prevention.

Promising results were found in a study of allicin’s effects on cancer. Mice with cancer were injected with allicin and compared to those without the treatment. Mice given allicin lived up to six months past treatment, while those without the chemical lived only up to two months more.

Allicin has been proven to boost the immune system by inducing the body’s creation of more white blood cells. This is promising news as many cancer patients experiencing remission undergo immune system therapies to enhance what has been weakened by treatment and disease.

Twenty-eight out of thirty-seven studies showed that garlic intake is a good addition for overall health. Its cancer-direct merits continue to be tested, but with such claims already proving positive for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, immune support and cancer prevention, garlic may be quickly growing in favor.

Immunotherapy mesothelioma treatment developed in Holland

The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine recently published the findings of a Dr. Joachim Aerts concerning a new immunotherapy treatment for use in treating and vaccinating against mesothelioma. The study is part of a growing body of immunotherapy research which aims to rally the body’s natural defenses against complex diseases such as mesothelioma and other cancers. The treatment which Dr. Joachim Aerts and his colleagues are developing demonstrated great potential, increasing antibody counts in patients and in some cases reducing the size of their tumors.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers enter a patient’s body through inhalation or ingestion, and due to their microscopic size and odd needle like shape pass through the body’s normal defenses for collecting and expelling foreign debris. The fibers collect in the mesothelium, a protective soft tissue lining that encases the body’s organs, and causes severe tissue scarring. In time, scarring of the mesothelium can lead to the development of malignant tumors which spread and cause death, often in less than two years. Every year more than three thousand Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma, and the rare cancer is becoming an even bigger problem worldwide as developing countries increase asbestos imports without effectively enforcing safe handling procedures.

Dr Joachim Aerts’ vaccine is particularly exciting because of its lack of serious side effects. If the treatment itself is sufficiently effective,it would considerably improve the quality of life of those patients whose current options are limited to harsh chemotherapy and radiotherapy. While conventional therapies induce such side effects as dramatic loss of strength, hair loss, weight loss, and weakening of the body’s autoimmune system, Aerts’ treatment at worst causes a brief stint of flu like symptoms.

The new treatment works with the patient’s dendritic cells to create the necessary antigins for combating the cancer. Dr Joachim, a lung specialist at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Holland, hopes that his research will contribute to future treatments which enable a patient’s immune system to eradicate the disease. Immunotherapy techniques, if proven sufficiently effective in destroying cancer cells, will bring a great change to current cancer treatments and could vastly improve the prognosis of diseases like mesothelioma.

Some of the current limitations to immunotherapy are discussed in Dr. Aerts’ recently published study, including complications introduced by immunosuppressive disorders and some inherent difficulties in combating advanced tumors with autoimmune responses due to the state of the autoimmune system in patients with advanced cancers. Despite the obstacles, immunotherapy shows great promise for cancer treatment in the future.