We Know Mesothelioma

A new drug offers hope for those with pleural mesothelioma

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Mesothelioma |

A diagnosis of cancer often means invasive and painful treatment. Different types of cancer require different forms of medical intervention. The location of the cancer, its stage of development and someone’s other health concerns may all influence what types of treatment doctors recommend.

Unfortunately for those with mesothelioma, there is no known cure for this aggressive type of cancer. Mesothelioma starts in the lining of the organs and may then spread to other parts of the body. It often takes decades to develop but may prove deadly within a few years of someone’s diagnosis.

Researchers have long sought treatment options that improve the prognosis of those with mesothelioma. A recent multi-year study involving patients in multiple different countries indicates that a novel drug might improve the chances of survival for those with pleural mesothelioma which begins in the lining of the lungs.

What do drug researchers have to say?

Medical professionals in the United States and four other countries administered the arginine-depleting agent pegargiminase to patients with plural mesothelioma. There were also patients in a control group who did not receive the novel medication. Both groups received chemotherapy. The patients who received pegargiminase.

How the drug works is somewhat unique. Every cell in the body, including cancer cells, needs certain types of nutrients. Amino acids are crucial building blocks for cells. People absorb amino acids through the foods that they eat, and certain types of cells can also synthesize specific amino acids. Arginine is a crucial amino acid that human body cells can usually synthesize on their own but mesothelioma cells typically cannot.

Pegargiminase works by starving mesothelioma tissue of arginine. The cells have a harder time multiplying and spreading without this key amino acid and also become more vulnerable to treatments with standard chemotherapy. Researchers have declared an intention to test the same drug on other hard-to-treat forms of cancer, including certain types of brain tumors. While it may be several years before pegargiminase becomes widely available, this research indicates that there is hope on the horizon for those with mesothelioma.

Patients hoping to achieve the best treatment outcome may need assistance paying for their medications. Pursuing a mesothelioma claim against a business that exposed a patient to asbestos might potentially help them to pay their treatment costs.