A team of researchers recently presented promising evidence of a new mesothelioma-fighting drug based on preliminary results from an ongoing phase 1 clinical trial.
The MITOPE clinical trial is investigating the experimental drug RSO-021, which could become a new mesothelioma treatment that works differently than other mesothelioma drugs. The medication pumps the brakes on the cell growth process, eventually leading to tumor cell death.
This breakthrough mesothelioma drug comes from RS Oncology, a clinical biotech company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. RSO-021 is just one example of new targeted therapies for mesothelioma that offer hope to patients with limited treatment options.
We talked with Dr. Brian Cuniff, Chief Science Officer at RS Oncology, about the trial’s initial findings and what could be next for mesothelioma treatment.
How RSO-021 Affects Mesothelioma
Cuniff told Mesothelioma Hope that mesothelioma cells require increased energy to grow. The experimental drug RSO-021 aims to slow that energy exponentially.
“A normal cell is like a car driving at 65 mph, but a cancer cell is a car driving at 120 mph. The operation of the car at that speed requires the engine to be operating perfectly,” explained Cuniff. “This new drug is like sticking a potato in the tailpipe of the cancer cell. RSO-021 binds to the PRX3 enzyme that keeps the cell functioning properly and disables it.”
Each patient was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and responded favorably to the new mesothelioma treatment.
All three patients experienced reduced fluid build-up in the lining of the lungs (pleural effusion) as well as a reduction in the size of their tumors.
In fact, fluid was completely stopped from draining into the lung lining for two patients and was significantly decreased for the third.
“Essentially we have a drug that is reducing pleural effusion as well as treating the cancer,” said Dulloo in his presentation.
The new mesothelioma treatment RSO-021 works differently than immunotherapy and chemotherapy drugs because it directly targets the enzymes on cancerous cells without the risk of damaging healthy cells in the process.
“This therapy was specifically researched and developed for mesothelioma to give patients another option for treatment. No other mesothelioma drug works like this,” said Cuniff.
Investing in New Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Tiny thread-like asbestos fibers can be inhaled and remain in the lungs for decades before causing cancerous tumors to form.
People who are most at risk of developing mesothelioma include veterans and trade workers due to the widespread use of asbestos in shipbuilding, construction, and other industries from the 1930s to the early 1980s.
“Even though mesothelioma is rare, there are some incredible scientists and doctors who are passionate about studying this disease. They are very invested in finding new therapies,” said Cuniff. “It can be frustrating for patients who run out of options. We’re working to bring as many options as possible to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.”
Cuniff and the rest of the trial’s research team are continuing multiple phases of the clinical trial, which will eventually begin enrolling patients in the United States.
On September 12, 2023, the team announced the official conclusion of the first phase of the trial and their plans to present detailed trial results at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Conference in 2024. Researchers hope the new drug RSO-021 could join other emerging treatments that have been approved for mesothelioma in recent years.
Our team can help you find the latest mesothelioma treatments and help you enroll in clinical trials. Call us today at (866) 608-8933 to get started.
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