Treatment for Mesothelioma: Researchers Making Inroads

Treatment for Mesothelioma: Researchers Making Inroads

A diagnosis of mesothelioma can be a devastating, but new therapies and treatments are showing promise for those suffering from this incurable form of cancer.
Some experimentaltreatments for mesothelioma, the cancer caused by asbestos exposure, are showing encouraging results, but standard treatments including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are still the norm.
This type of cancer attacks the mesothelium—the internal sack that lines the abdomen. Often called “asbestos lung cancer” this illness does not affect the lungs directly but rather the lining around the lungs. There are two types of mesothelioma–pleural mesothelioma involving the membrane around the lungs, and peritoneal mesothelioma which concerns the abdominal cavity. Treatment for both types is similar.
Prognosis for this cancer depends greatly upon how early the cancer is detected and on the individual. Experimental treatments for this type of cancer include photodynamic therapy, gene therapy, and immunotherapy, and others are also being developed and tested. Most people diagnosed with this type of cancer respond best to chemotherapy—but often life expectancy for those diagnosed is a year or less.
Despite the grim prognosis, some patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have lived more than ten years. However, studies indicate that survival is not as dependent on treatment as it is on some unknown factor within the diagnosed patient. Even with such long-term survival, this type of cancer is not considered curable.
With conventional methods failing to give patients hope for long-term survival, researchers are looking at any new treatments and therapies. One therapy that appears promising is the use of  anti-angiogenesis, a therapy that stops tumors from making new blood vessels, which limits the tumor’s growth. Currently, several clinical trials are being conducted using anti-angiogenesis drugs. One drug, Veglin, is having some success in patients suffering from other cancers and will soon be tested on mesothelioma patients.
Other treatments being used, while not curative, have lengthened the survival rates of some patients. One commonly-used therapy is called palliative, which involves taking a needle and draining excess fluid from affected areas. Drugs are used to prevent the build-up of fluids, which increases quality of life for the patient.
Some clinics are also using the body’s own defenses to fight the growth of cancerous tumors, including those that develop with mesothelioma. Researchers are looking at how the body’s immune system can be tapped to help fight all forms of cancer, with some promising results.  Our bodies contain substances within our cells that have been known to block tumor growth or increase the immune system’s power. Interferon, monoclonal antibodies,  interleukins, and colony-stimulating factors are examples of this type of biological treatment.
As research continues on these new treatments, hope grows for those suffering from this incurable cancer.

Sandy Carlin is a successful Internet Publisher and has researched and written on many topics for – your complete source for mesothelioma information, mesothelioma attorneys and lawyers, mesothelioma treatments and research, asbestos exposure and removal, asbestos attorneys and legislation as well as asbestos cancer

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