If you are suffering from mesothelioma then you know how aggressive this form of cancer can be. According to WebMD, mesothelioma, if left untreated, a person can succumb to death within four months to a year after diagnosis. Unfortunately, because of its rarity and similar symptoms to other conditions and illnesses, many doctors often misdiagnose patients who have mesothelioma.
If the cancer is not detected early enough then aggressive treatment is often needed. As you can imagine, receiving an effective treatment is key to prolonging a patient’s life. Chemotherapy is one of these treatments that uses chemical substances to eradicate cancer cells within the body. But not all mesothelioma cells are susceptible to chemotherapy, which is often what causes relapse in many patients. But researchers believe they may have discovered two drugs that could prevent this from happening.
Current chemotherapy drugs “actually end up creating more stem cells, even while they are shrinking mesothelioma tumors,” points out an article written for the site Surviving Mesothelioma. According to researchers, these cancer stem cells that get left behind are what cause most patients to relapse. This could be because some of the cells do not contain the tumor suppressor known as merlin.
But the two experimental drugs currently being tested by Verastem, Inc. make these cells vulnerable to the chemotherapy chemicals, thereby making the chemotherapy process that much more effective for mesothelioma patients. The drugs are currently being tested on mice that have been infected with the type of mesothelioma found in humans. So far, the results have been promising. This is likely good news to patients everywhere who have been waiting for a treatment such as this for quite some time.
Source: Surviving Mesothelioma, “Trial Drug May Boost Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Success,” June 2, 2014