• Mesothelioma Treatments May Include New Immunotherapy Drug
  • June 18, 2015
  • Law Firm: Waters Kraus LLP - Dallas Office
  • The benefit of immunotherapy for mesothelioma patients is that the treatment uses the body’s own immune system to attack mesothelioma cells without causing injury to healthy cells nearby. In a recently published study of tremelimumab, Italian researchers from the University Hospital of Siena have announced that the drug shows promising results in patients with advanced mesothelioma that has been resistant to traditional chemotherapy. Study results were published in the journal Respiratory Medicine.

    Tremelimumab Helps Immune System to Locate Mesothelioma Cells and Destroy Them

    Tremelimumab had been studied before in mesothelioma patients, but at a dosage of 15 mg/kg every 90 days. Dr. Michele Maio and other scientists in the Siena hospital’s oncology department looked at the tremelimumab dosage given to patients with melanoma and thought that mesothelioma patients might fare better with an intensified treatment schedule of tremelimumab. The results of their initial small-scale study are promising. The next step is a larger placebo-controlled, double-blind phase 2b study that is being carried out at several centers around the world and is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

    Immunotherapy works by helping the body to locate diseased mesothelioma cells and then allowing the immune system to attack those cells and kill them. The 29 patients in the study reportedly received tremelimumab intravenously at a dosage of 10 mg/kg every four weeks for the first six months. After that, the treatment was reduced to every 12 weeks until the point that the mesothelioma eventually began to progress.

    In Dr. Maio’s study, the disease was successfully controlled at some level for over half of the 29 patients — lasting on average for 10 months. All patients had advanced mesothelioma that had already been treated with standard measures. It is hoped that the immunotherapy drug tremelimumab will be even more effective in patients with disease that is less advanced.