An April 2014 study published in PLOS One reviewed the possible impact of copper-enhanced disulfiram on pleural mesothelioma cells. Research on the impact of the medication was conducted at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne University, and the findings showed that the drug could potentially be effective at treating mesothelioma.
The medication has actually been approved by the FDA since the 1950s as a method of treating addiction to alcohol. This recent research provides hope that the medication could be used to localize mesothelioma and prevent the spread of cancer throughout the body. This could help to prolong life and could prove effective at helping mesothelioma patients, who are currently faced with a poor long-term prognosis as mesothelioma is one of the most difficult cancers to treat.
Mesothelioma is exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos, and generally the cancer starts in the lining surrounding the lungs after asbestos fibers were breathed in and settled there. Individuals exposed to asbestos can take legal action to obtain compensation from asbestos manufacturers or from employers in the case of workplace exposure. A Boston mesothelioma lawyer can help those who were exposed to mesothelioma to understand their options.
Could Anti-Alcohol Drug be Effective as Mesothelioma Treatment
Disulfiram has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 1951 and has been used for more than six decades in helping patients to manage alcoholism. The medication causes a person who consumes alcohol to experience unpleasant symptoms including headaches, dizziness, vomiting and nausea. Around 200,000 people in the U.S. currently take the medication in order to control or stop their alcohol cravings. The drug has also been used in the fight against cocaine addiction.
In recent years, researchers have learned that copper-enhanced disulfiram, or DFS-CU, can be effective at treating cancer. When the drug is mixed with copper, it can trigger apoptosis, which is a process that naturally results in cells committing suicide. It can thus be administered to cancer patients to cause the cancer cells to die, without causing long-term toxic side effects or creating local inflammation.
DFS-CU has been used in clinical trials to treat various different types of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. Researchers have now begun looking into its effectiveness for mesothelioma patients. When DFS-CU was injected into mice, it stopped mesothelioma tumors from growing. The mice also become more receptive to the use of certain kinds of chemotherapy medications. Different doses of the DSF-CU were injected into the mice in order to help the researchers to determine the most effective amount of the medication to use to have a beneficial impact.
The next step is to obtain approval from the FDA to start a Phase I clinical trial in order to see if the DFS-CU is a viable approach to treating mesothelioma in humans. The medication is sold by its brand name Antabuse, and hopefully the FDA will soon allow clinical trials to go forward in order to provide new hope of a cure to patients suffering from mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Low Levels of Asbestos Exposure Can Cause Mesothelioma, Jan. 2, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog