• Potential new treatments for mesothelioma
  • December 28, 2017
  • Workers in Pennsylvania who have been exposed to asbestos have a higher chance of developing mesothelioma, a serious type of cancer that is difficult to treat. Over the years, new drugs and other treatments have been developed to hopefully better diagnose and treat the disease.

    According to the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center, immunotherapy is one of the major areas that is being researched to see how it can help cancer treatment be more effective. Immunotherapeutic strategies can turn off parts of the immune system, enhance current immunity or initiate a new response to the cancer. Treatments using tumor protein p53 are also showing promise in fighting mesothelioma. This human gene can help kill or repair DNA-damaged cells.

    Research around photodynamic therapy has shown that it also may be an effective treatment for mesothelioma. PDT is already being used for some other types of cancer as well as acne. It combines a photosynthesizing drug with a specific light wavelength to kill cancer cells.

    The American Cancer Society also discusses a number of experimental treatments that are being tested. One is the use of certain viruses to target and infect cancer cells, either indirectly via the immune system or directly. Another way viruses are being tested to help treat mesothelioma is through gene therapy. In this treatment, viruses are modified and then injected into the cancer cells. The virus then infects the cells with a gene that makes them easier to attack and get rid of. While these new treatments still need more testing, there is promising hope they will be effective methods in managing mesothelioma.