Tuesday, 06 April 2010 06:54

New Developments in Mesothelioma Research

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News that you or your loved one has cancer can be devastating, including if that news is mesothelioma cancer. It is a costly, debilitating disease that often is not diagnosed until the late stages, making effective treatment critical. All terminal diseases require ongoing research to ensure improvements in therapies.

Fortunately cancer research is constantly ongoing, and mesothelioma research is no exception. Scientists look for better means of prevention and doctors work toward obtaining an appropriate diagnosis more quickly and easily.

A large portion of mesothelioma research is centered on the changes asbestos makes to the mesothelial cells and their DNA.

Multimodality Therapy

Treatment plans using a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are called multimodality therapy. These are being studied to determine their effectiveness against mesothelioma. Initial results show promising results for some patients.

New chemotherapy drugs are being tested in clinical trials together with other types of treatment. An enzyme that breaks down RNA, called Ranpirnase (Onconase) is being studied and has helped some patients to live longer. Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (vorinostate [SAHA]) inhibits an enzyme that controls certain mesothelioma cell growth by controlling proteins called histones that regulate DNA.


Immunotherapy uses the body's own immune system to protect itself against disease. Research has shown that the immune system may differentiate healthy cells from cancer cells, thereby giving the body the ability to eliminate cancer cells.

Biological response modifiers (BRMs) alter the interaction between the body's immunity and cancer, giving the body improved ability to fight it. Cytokines and antibodies are naturally occurring BRMs. Now there are BRMs created in laboratories that may influence a person's immune response, including the ability to fight or suppress cancer growth. BRMs currently used in cancer treatment include:
- Interferons
- Interleukins
- Tumor necrosis factor
- Colony-stimulating Factors
- Monoclonal Antibodies
- Cancer vaccines

It is important to discuss all treatment options and therapies with your mesothelioma doctor to insure you are receiving the best care available.

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