There is no question that mesothelioma is a devastating diagnosis. Despite extensive research to find new treatments, doctors still consider mesothelioma to be a terminal cancer in the vast majority of cases. To support those fighting this terrible disease, our law firm has for many years sponsored the Bergman Oslund Udo Little Thoracic Surgery Fellowship at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle to help train the next generation of physicians treating mesothelioma.
Medical research continues on many fronts, bringing hope that new treatments will be found. Two different kinds of medical research are currently exploring experimental treatments that could offer new hope to those with mesothelioma and the people who love them.
There are breakthrough drugs in the development and testing stages in other countries that could drastically alter the current approach to mesothelioma treatment. The goal of such treatment is to help the body produce new, healthy cells to replace those attacked or killed by the cancer.
In the Netherlands, researchers working on novel cell therapies have announced the completion of a study follow-up. This study, which began working with patients in 2018, tracked the responses of 176 patients to a new drug. Although it will be some time before the researchers release the data, studies of the same medication on another kind of cancer showed promising results when looking at how long people survived.
Imagine receiving a treatment that makes your body more capable of fighting the cancer without aggressive and painful chemotherapy or radiation treatments. That is the goal of immunotherapy, which seeks to increase the body’s natural response to cancer or train its existing systems to more effectively fight the cancer.
In October 2020, the U.S. FDA approved the use of two immunotherapy drugs as a first-line treatment of mesothelioma where surgery is not an option. The newly approved treatment combines Opdivo®️ (nivolumab) and Yervoy®️ (ipilimumab), which were associated with improved life expectancy compared to existing treatment options.
Although many hospitals currently use immunotherapies in conjunction with traditional treatments, there is hope that advances in immunotherapy may make chemotherapy treatments less common. In addition to the recently approved treatments, there are other novel drug combinations undergoing clinical tests abroad that may eventually prove useful for patients here in the United States.
Many patients learn after their diagnosis that covering the cost of mesothelioma treatment can be very difficult, especially for someone who has likely already retired. Pursuing an asbestos-related claim after a mesothelioma diagnosis could help you cover the costs of treatment and provide financial support for the patient’s family.