Potential New Cure for Asbestos-Related Illness Being Tested

For a variety of reasons, Australia has many more cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma each year than most other nations. There are constantly government investigations into asbestos use and asbestos abatement violations, especially in relation to a home insulation material known as Mr. Fluffy.

syringe-1238929-mDue to the high frequency of asbestos related illness diagnoses in the country each year, it should come as no surprise the government has put a considerable amount of resources into finding better treatment options and eventually a cure for malignant pleural mesothelioma.

According to a recent news article from RT, a scientist from New Zealand may have made significant progress toward finding a cure. The main problem with treating mesothelioma is that, as our Boston mesothelioma lawyers understand, the tumors are extremely resistant to standard treatment methods. The reason is because the tumors can quickly spread to healthy tissue and form what doctors consider a vast interconnected web of tumors and healthy tissue, and it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between the two. This makes it very hard to treat the tumors without destroying the surrounding healthy tissue.

This researcher, a medical doctor and university professor, has been working with a biotech firm to develop what they are calling a futuristic drug delivery system. The new system uses nanotechnology. Essentially, they are creating “minicells” filled with an antibody designed to inhibit tumor growth. The cells are designed so they are self-guided to the tumors and only treat the cancer by recoding the RNA in the tumor. Doctors and drug company officials are calling this new type of drug delivery device a Trojan horse in the fight against mesothelioma. The cancer sees these cells as healthy tissue on which it can replicate itself, but when the minicells reach the tumor, it releases its destructive payload on antibodies, killing the tumor.

Initial testing was done on animals using tumors. Following these tests, where researchers say the say they saw a substantial inhibition in tumor growth, the company was able to do some limited human trials on patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. While normally it takes much longer to move an experimental medication into human testing phases, there are exceptions made when patients are likely to die from a disease in the near future, and there is no feasible alternative treatment. This is known as the compassionate use exception.   Since most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma usually die within a relatively short period of time, and there is no effective cure on the market, the exception can apply. There are treatment options, but they are usually painful, not very effective, and when they do work, only extend life a short period of time.

These researchers say they tried the new treatment on one patient with malignant pleural mesothelioma, and his tumors almost completely disappeared.   This patient was diagnosed with a malignant tumor due to occupational exposure. He was one of ten patients in the human trial phase and the only patient in the group who actually experienced much of a positive effect from the drug.   For this reason, there is still a great deal of work that has to be done, but the early results give some reason to believe it could eventually lead to a cure.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

‘Groundbreaking’ cure for deadly asbestos-related cancer could be near, June 15, 2015, RT

More Blog Entries:

Bostic v. Georgia-Pacific Corp.: Actual and Proximate Causation in Mesothelioma Litigation, July 21, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog

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