With the expectation of finding a cure for mesothelioma, which none of the traditional methods were able to provide, new mesothelioma treatment ways have been researched and studied. Mesothelioma experts are optimistic that new and more effective ways of treating this rare cancer will soon become available to the victims of this asbestos induced disease. Some of the studies that are currently being conducted include the following concepts:
Anti-angiogenesis; this method is using special drugs that are targeted to prohibit tumor growth, by preventing them from building blood vessels. Unlike other treatments, anti-angiogenesis does not target cancer cells directly but impacts the blood supply which is crucial for the survival and growth of existing tumors and the development of new ones.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT); this is a new approach which is specialized on the treatment of pleural mesothelioma. However, studies indicated that patients with metastasized mesothelioma do not respond to PDT, whereas there are some moderately encouraging results in patients where the disease has not spread yet. By using the energy of light, PDT can target cancer cells to destroy them.
Immunotherapy; also known as biological therapy. Via this method, the body’s own immune system is being strengthened in its fight against the cancer. The immune system plays an important role in the fight against any kind of cancer. But especially for mesothelioma, where the conventional treatments cannot provide a cure, researches have high hopes that immunotherapy could be the next major breakthrough in the treatment of this rare asbestos related health condition.
Immunotherapy for mesothelioma can be subdivided into two main categories:
1. Active Immunotherapy – in this process, cancer cells are being removed from the patient and then further evaluated in a laboratory, with the goal to develop a vaccine that can be then injected back to the mesothelioma victim In theory and unscientific terms, the immune system will recognize the vaccine as a danger and subsequently will do the same regarding the actual cancer cells.
2. Passive Immunotherapy; this procedure utilizes substances such as cytokines or similar agents to influence the body’s immune system as to how it responds to cancer cells.
Gene Therapy; this method involves genetic substances to target cancer cells distinctively and increase their susceptibility to chemotherapy agents. One of the most promising gene therapies in the new mesothelioma treatment studies is the so called ‘suicide gene therapy’. It basically forces the cancer cells to commit suicide.
All of the aforementioned new mesothelioma treatments are currently only available through clinical trials for patients who are interested.