Mesothelioma Treatment Research

Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma. However, there are several emerging treatment options that show promise in improving treatment for the cancer. There is also hope that with extended research, one of these emerging treatment options may eventually lead to a cure. Patients who are considering an emerging treatment should consult with a medical professional to determine if their case is a fit.

Written and Fact-Checked by: Laura Wright

Treatment Research for Mesothelioma

Researchers are constantly working on new treatment options to improve the prognosis of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Clinical Trials

Several new and emerging treatments have shown promise in treating mesothelioma effectively and increasing life expectancy. For example, immunotherapy is a relatively new medical treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to attack and destroy cancer cells. When doctors first began studying mesothelioma decades ago, this treatment was not available.

Researchers continue to develop new, innovative methods for treating mesothelioma. Many new treatments are studied through clinical trials run by teams of medical researchers.

In the future, many believe that a cure may become possible. At the present moment, most treatments for mesothelioma focus on extending life expectancy and improving quality of life.

Mesothelioma Symptoms Checklist

Monitor your health using our free symptoms checklist for a better chance at early diagnosis and treatment.

Get Your Free Checklist

Clinical Trials

One way that doctors and medical professionals work to discover new emerging treatments for mesothelioma is through clinical trials.

Clinical trials are run by licensed medical practitioners and researchers for the evaluation of new medical treatments. They are regulated by the federal government and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Mesothelioma clinical trials allow doctors, scientists, and researchers to try newer treatments in a controlled setting.

Doctors have criteria for determining which patients are eligible to join a clinical trial. For example, there are several different types of mesothelioma. A patient with pleural mesothelioma — the most common form of the disease — may be eligible for a certain clinical trial, while a patient with testicular mesothelioma, which is rare, may not be.

Did You Know?

Although clinical trials are conducted by medical professionals, they have risks. The drugs and treatments involved are sometimes untested. This means there is the possibility of unknown side effects. Patients who join clinical trials are informed of the possible risks and benefits before starting the study.

If you are interested in joining a clinical trial, speak with a trusted, experienced doctor who may be able to find studies near you.

Types of Emerging Treatments

Researchers and doctors are working hard to discover new ways to treat mesothelioma. Several new treatments established over the past few decades have extended life expectancy, improved prognosis, and reduced symptoms. There is some hope that, eventually, one of these treatments will lead to a cure.

Many of the most common emerging mesothelioma treatments are:

Immunotherapy

In immunotherapy, patients are given drugs to boost their immune system, enabling it to target and attack cancerous cells more efficiently. It may also suppress a patient’s immune system to allow other types of treatments to take effect.

Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is a relatively new treatment that introduces manipulated genes into the body. Gene therapy helps cancerous cells affected by mesothelioma to be more susceptible to other forms of cancer treatment.

p53 Restorative Drugs

The tumor protein p53 is a human gene that can be used in medical treatments to suppress cancer. It can be used to either repair damaged cells or kill cancerous cells. More research is currently being done to learn more about this treatment.

Epigenetic Therapy

The epigenome is a record of how chemicals change in a person’s DNA. It is unique to each individual. Doctors are working to determine how cancer turns off particular anticancer mechanisms in the epigenome and how these changes can be altered.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic therapy, or PDT, uses a photosynthesizing agent to destroy cancer. This agent is combined with wavelengths of light to create singlet oxygen, which kills cancer cells. PDT has been effective at treating several different forms of cancer, including mesothelioma.

Virotherapy

Virotherapy uses viruses to target and kill cancer cells. It is often used in conjunction with other therapies, such as immunotherapy.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy uses cold temperatures to target and kill cancer cells. Although it is a relatively new mesothelioma treatment, it has been used to treat other conditions for years.

Improving Mesothelioma Surgical Techniques

The most common surgeries for patients with mesothelioma are extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), pleurectomy with decortication (P/D), and cytoreduction with HIPEC.

  • In an EPP, a cancerous lung may be removed entirely, along with certain parts of the chest lining or nearby lymph nodes. This is used to treat pleural mesothelioma.
  • A P/D allows doctors to remove the lung lining that’s been affected by cancer but both lungs are spared. This is another treatment for pleural mesothelioma.
  • Cytoreduction with HIPEc combines abdominal surgery and heated chemotherapy to treat patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.

There is currently a debate between mesothelioma doctors and researchers as to if an EPP or a P/D is better. Many doctors argue that EPPs are too aggressive and risky. In turn, there is increased advocacy for P/D procedures.

Get help coordinating your treatment schedule with our free mesothelioma treatment planner.

In Stock Now
Limited Time OfferMesothelioma Treatment Planner
  • Track appointments
  • Organize medications
  • Monitor symptoms and diet

Get Your Free Planner

Finding a Cure for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma treatment has come a long way over the past several decades. When mesothelioma researchers began studying the cancer, all they knew was that it was linked to asbestos. There was little information on how the disease progressed and very few treatment options available.

Today, options such as chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, gene therapy, and immunotherapy are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Further, they are extending the lifespans of patients with mesothelioma.

Biological therapies and cell therapies are very promising. They may even deliver a cure at some point in the near future. Biological therapies modify or disrupt the way that cells normally work. This can offer doctors creative solutions for fighting abnormal cells affected by asbestos exposure.

Finding the Right Emerging Treatment For You

Although there is no cure for mesothelioma today, physicians and researchers are working hard to develop emerging treatments that may eventually lead to a cure.

A young male doctor speaks to an older male patient

Emerging treatments such as immunotherapy, gene therapy, p53 restorative drugs, epigenetic therapy, and photodynamic therapy are often offered through clinical trials.

If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, you may want to consider one of these treatment options. They may improve your prognosis or reduce your symptoms.

Keep in mind, it is important to consult with your doctor. They can evaluate your specific case of mesothelioma to help determine which emerging treatment may work best for you.

Mesothelioma Treatment Research FAQs

Are there any new treatments for mesothelioma?

Yes. New treatments are emerging every year thanks to mesothelioma doctors and researchers carefully researching effective treatment options.

Clinical trials are the main way doctors will test new treatments, and many patients have seen positive results after participating in clinical trials.

The latest clinical trial that was approved by the FDA for more mainstream use was immunotherapy. This treatment provides patients with immune-boosting drugs, so their immune system is more efficient at targeting and killing cancerous cells.

How can I participate in a clinical trial for mesothelioma?

Patients can access emerging mesothelioma treatments through clinical trials. These are carefully run studies to explore how mesothelioma might react to different and new treatment options.

To find a clinical trial, talk with your mesothelioma specialist or call us at (866) 608-8933. Our on-staff Patient Advocates can find a specialist near you.

What is the best treatment for mesothelioma?

Because each patient and case of mesothelioma is unique, the best treatment methods vary for each patient. It is important to work with your mesothelioma specialist to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Written by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 14 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

4 References
  1. American Cancer Society. “Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know.” Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/clinical-trials/what-you-need-to-know.html. Accessed: December 20, 2022.

  2. American Cancer Society. “How Targeted Therapies Are Used to Treat Cancer.” Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/targeted-therapy/what-is.html. Accessed: December 20, 2022.

  3. American Cancer Society. “What’s New in Malignant Mesothelioma Research?” Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/about/new-research.html. Accessed: December 20, 2022.

  4. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. (2014). “Immunotherapy for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Current Status and Future Prospects.” Retrieved from: https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1165/rcmb.2013-0472TR. Accessed: December 20, 2022.

Speak to a Patient Advocate About Your Options

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there is hope. Contact us to learn more about mesothelioma and your treatment options.

  • Latest treatment information
  • Financial assistance for treatment
  • VA benefits help

Submit your information and a Patient Advocate will call you right back!

Complete the Form to Speak to a Patient Advocate