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Promising new mesothelioma treatment headed to trials

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2021 | Mesothelioma/Asbestos-Related Illness

Less than one percent of all cancer research discoveries lead to clinical trials. That’s the unfortunate truth about the rate of cancer research, and it’s part of the reason only two new mesothelioma treatments have received FDA approval since 2004.

The good news is that a new treatment has beaten the odds and is on its way to clinical trials. Researchers at the University of Vermont Cancer Center recently shared the news. Their mesothelioma treatment is about to enter Phase 1 clinical trials and may offer new hope for other forms of cancer as well.

Plugging up the cancer cell exhaust pipes

To understand how the treatment works, it’s helpful to think about cells as automobiles. Like cars, cells need fuel. They burn their fuel, and they need to get rid of the waste—or exhaust.

As the researchers noted in their official findings, the treatment they’re taking to clinical trials disrupts the process the cells use to get rid of toxic waste. This means the cells don’t clear out the harmful mitochondrial peroxide that builds up. As a result, they get sick and die from their own “exhaust.”

The treatment relies on two different agents:

  • Thiostrepton (TS) is a natural antibiotic
  • Gentian violet (GV) is an antiseptic dye often used to treat fungal infections

The researchers found that these two agents interfere with the tumor cells’ ability to get rid of waste. The researchers also believe healthy cells will not prove as vulnerable because they process the agents and their waste at different rates.

What does this mean for mesothelioma victims?

Phase 1 clinical trials are the first trials to involve people. The researchers have previously tested the treatment on mice, and those results were encouraging. However, cancer treatments like this must always pass through a series of ever-expanding tests and trials before the FDA grants them approval. That means the researchers will work with only a limited number of mesothelioma patients for their Phase 1 trials. If all goes well, they’ll work with a larger group in Phase 2.

In the meantime, this new treatment looks to join the others currently in clinical trials. Few doctors know about all these new trials and treatments, but you can learn about your options by contacting someone who stays up to date with the latest mesothelioma research. Researchers are often looking for suitable volunteers for their studies, and these clinical trials may be the best options for some mesothelioma victims.

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