Researchers in Spain have discovered a new treatment for patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma. The researchers first tested the drug combination in mice before verifying that it may also help humans. The next step is to conduct more human testing. New mesothelioma treatment options like this one will hopefully reduce symptoms and extend the lifespan of victims.
New Mesothelioma Treatment in Mice Shows Promise
Medical researchers in Spain have found a new mesothelioma treatment. This drug combination may help patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is one of three mesothelioma cell types (along with biphasic mesothelioma and epithelioid mesothelioma). It is defined by cells with a distinct oval shape.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is one of the hardest forms of mesothelioma to treat as the cells can quickly spread throughout the body.
The researchers have begun testing MEK and Pl3Kbeta inhibitors on mice with sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
MEK and Pl3kbeta inhibitors are cell enzymes and proteins. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma tends to use these cell enzymes as pathways to spread throughout the body.
These inhibitors attempt to block cancers from using these pathways to spread.
Early evidence shows that these drugs may slow the spread of other cancers — but this study is one of the first times they have been used to treat sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
The researchers hope to expand their testing to humans to see if the drugs will benefit patients with mesothelioma.
Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma and Treatments
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the rarest of the three mesothelioma cell subtypes and also the most aggressive. It is considered the hardest cell subtype to treat and accounts for about 25% of all mesothelioma cases.
Patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma typically live between 14 and 18 months if they receive current treatments.
What makes the new Spanish research on sarcomatoid mesothelioma so promising is the treatment method.
The authors claim that the new drug combination treats sarcomatoid mesothelioma at the molecular level.
Little currently is known about the molecular makeup of mesothelioma. This is a major reason why there are relatively few mesothelioma treatments available.
If this treatment shows promise in humans, the researchers may have found a breakthrough that can help extend the lifespan of mesothelioma victims everywhere.
Other Key Findings of the New Mesothelioma Treatment Study
The compounds tested in this research are already under investigation in clinical trials for other tumors. That means that human testing could come faster.
Clinical trials for new mesothelioma treatments often get delayed as the dangers must be assessed. Some drugs are too toxic to safely give to mesothelioma patients.
The authors wrote: “We chose drugs that were already being tested for other human tumors because their toxicity is well understood and so they can be used in clinical trials soon.”
The authors also came up with a set of molecular markers to determine which patients can undergo a clinical trial.
These markers included:
- Proteins such as vimentin
- Gαi2 genes like AKT1 and 2
The researchers believe that high levels of gene expression from those markers indicate that the treatment is working.
How Can Patients Access New Mesothelioma Treatments?
Patients can access new mesothelioma treatments by joining clinical trials. The researchers in Spain want to start a clinical trial for their treatment as quickly as possible.
You or a loved one could also participate in mesothelioma clinical trials today if you qualify. Reach out to a doctor to see if there are any clinical trials nearby that you may join.
You can also explore the available mesothelioma clinical trials listed online.
It is important to remember that you may not always be able to join a clinical trial.
Eligibility depends on:
- Geographical limits (some studies only select patients within a certain region or country)
- The mesothelioma stage (how far the cancer has spread)
- Size of the study group (trials may limit the number of patients accepted)
- The type of mesothelioma that the trial focuses on
Even if you cannot join a clinical trial and receive new mesothelioma treatments, you can — and should — receive medical care after a diagnosis. Medical treatments are the only way to extend your life expectancy.