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Doctors can often make the mistake of misdiagnosing a mesothelioma patient as having lung cancer. This comes as no surprise, as the two cancers do share similar symptoms and mesothelioma is the much less common of the two. Even though research endeavors for the mesothelioma and lung cancer are mutually exclusive, scientists are now hopeful that a new breakthrough treatment for lung cancer patients may also make a big impact in the way doctors treat mesothelioma.
In the latest advancement in immunotherapy, a new drug has been effective at stopping lung cancer patients a tumor’s ability to invade the body’s immune system. The new drug focuses on prompting the body’s immune system to attack the lung cancer tumors and it has been quite successful.
The immunotherapy medication is comprised of compounds anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1. These compounds are protein agents that are known to work well to suppress the tumor’s ability to fight against the body’s immune system. When patients receive the correct antibody to block either of the protein agents, the immune system is able to destroy the tumor cells. Lung cancer patients who have undergone this treatment have seen a tumor shrinkage rate of 18 percent. Oncologists have seen up to a 28 percent shrinkage rate in patients who have melanoma and 27 percent in patients who have renal-cell cancer.
The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL has been using these two compounds to effectively treat lung cancer for the past two years.
Tawee Tanvetyanon, M.D., an oncologist and a member of the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, believes that this drug will also be successful treatment for mesothelioma patients as well. She also said that this form of treatment will be the primary direction for how to treat mesothelioma successfully in the future.
Researchers are ready to begin clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the new treatment but are still waiting for funding. According to Dr. Tanvetyanon, it is much more difficult to get funding for mesothelioma, a rare disease that 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with each year. By comparison, roughly 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer each year.
The mesothelioma law firm of Baron and Budd is a fervent supporter of several mesothelioma research groups and hopes to see mesothelioma clinical trials begin for this new medication in the near future. Baron and Budd has been working with mesothelioma patients and their families for over 35 years and continues to support the mesothelioma community in anyway possible.
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