Mesothelioma trials delayed by pandemic to start again
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Mesothelioma trials delayed by pandemic to start again

An international phase III will soon begin at cancer facilities worldwide, including the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The recent pandemic delayed these trials as the medical community diverted resources to respond to the emergency.

Now, as COVID-19 treatment techniques stabilize, researchers can pick up where they left off. The rescheduled phase III trials offer some of the best results for asbestos-related cancers.

Continuing with progress

Researchers around the world are eager to continue these trials, citing the progress made during phase II. Standard chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma results in an average 12-month survival rate. During these trials, which combine chemotherapy and a drug called durvalumab, the median survival rates of patients increased to 20 months. Trial investigator Dr. Bernardo Goulart says the drug produces “better than expected” results — one of his patients will soon pass the three-year survival mark.

The phase III trials could change the standard of care for those diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by extreme exposure to asbestos. The new drug eliminates a protein that protects cancer cells from the immune system, making way for the body to fight the disease.

The randomized trials will begin soon at several locations across the country. The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance includes the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington Medical Center. Throughout these trials, the Alliance has become a leading voice in treating mesothelioma.

Phase III trials will begin soon. Participating medical centers include the Seattle hospitals, as well as Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, Philadelphia’s Fox Chase Cancer Center, and the Stanford Cancer Institute in California. Those interested in participating can reach out to the closest center for more information.

The legal fight against asbestos

Despite the massive toll asbestos takes on human life (and the excessive costs), lawmakers still refuse to outlaw the substance. Those exposed to asbestos still have legal recourse available though. People looking to appeal a claim denial for coverage have found success in working with a local attorney familiar with the laws surrounding asbestos.