Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Experimental Therapies

Several forms of mesothelioma treatment such as the drug Alimta, gene therapy, immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy and multimodality therapy are still in their experimental stages. We invite you to read the following articles on experimental therapies for Malignant Mesothelioma.

Drug Therapy

Alimta, a new type of cancer treatment being developed by Eli Lilly, is the first treatment to significantly increase the length of survival and ameliorate the symptoms of the disease. The trial, one of the largest against the fatal disease, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists.

Gene Therapy

Many strategies of gene therapy are currently under study. Even though the results in animal experiments have been remarkable they have remained disappointing in humans. Other agents such as onconase, thalidomide, lovastatin have been used as single therapy or in combination with chemotherapy with various results.


This therapy involves the removal of patient cells, activation by exposure to cytokines and reinstillatin into the peritoneum, accompanied by additional chemotherapy. In the few cases tried this form of treatment lead to significant shrinkage of the tumor. However most patients had very early stages of disease, and general recommendations are therefore difficult to make, prior to further research.

Photodynamic Therapy

This therapy involves the use of a drug that makes the cancer cells sensitive to a particular wavelength of light. The drug is administered before the surgical procedure. The results have been disappointing, and no survival benefit has been shown in studies so far.

Multimodality Therapy

Doctors are always learning more about the best way to treat patients with mesotheliomas. The roles of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy in the treatment of mesothelioma are highly debated. Treatments which use some combinations of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, called multimodality therapy, are now being studied and may provide the most promising option for some patients.


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