After a mesothelioma diagnosis, you want to get the best possible treatment. That means working with a doctor who understands your options.
However, doctors don’t always know all the available options. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer. Doctors often have limited experience with it. At the same time, researchers are constantly advancing new treatments. Doctors don’t always know about these advancements, which include some promising new work with immunotherapy.
Advancements in immunotherapy
Mesothelioma researchers have recently turned much of their attention toward new immunotherapies. This is partially because the cancer resists many of the treatments that work for other cancers. It’s also because scientists keep finding new ways to make our immune systems more effective at combatting cancer.
A recent study found that second-line immunotherapy proved more effective than second-line chemotherapy. One group of mesothelioma patients received immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) after a first round of chemotherapy. Their treatment focused on taking the brakes off the body’s natural immune response. The study then compared their results to those for a group of patients who went through a second round of chemotherapy:
- The 12-month overall survival rate for the ICI patients was 36.7%
- The 12-month overall survival rate for the second-line chemotherapy patients was 15.6%
The 12-month overall survival (OS) rate for the ICI patients was more than twice as good as for standard chemotherapy. That’s fantastic news. But it’s important to remember that every study is limited. The sample sizes and variables matter. The results demand confirmation.
Even so, they are quite promising. They’ll do nothing to deter scientists from continuing to explore more immunotherapy treatments.
Some researchers recently announced the results of their immunotherapy trials. In their animal trials, their treatment completely eliminated all tumors. Their team targeted the mesothelin (MSLN) that typically appears on the surface of mesothelioma tumors. Their antibody-based immunotherapy bolstered the mice’s natural immune responses.
That wasn’t all the team found. There was another piece of good news. The treatment’s active agent, LMB-100, promoted the development of tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS). These structures ensure the body has enough B cells to fight tumors.
Clinical trials always need volunteers
While these immunotherapy updates are encouraging, it’s important to remember that scientific and medical advances need time. The researchers working with LMB-100 have yet to test it with humans. They need to move cautiously through the different stages of clinical trials. No one wants to rush ahead and injure or kill people due to careless mistakes.
The LMB-100 team is not the only team working on a new mesothelioma treatment. Teams are always trying to find new ways to save lives, and many need eligible volunteers for their trials. Your doctor may or may not know about these trials, but you want to understand your options.