Most cancer treatment is oral or through an IV into the bloodstream. What if a gene therapy for mesothelioma and lung cancer was inhalable and could be a reliable lung cancer treatment and mesothelioma therapy?
Researchers in Japan created a gene therapy that suppresses tumors and combined it with an inhalable powder. This is a unique delivery method and sends the treatment directly into the lungs to fight lung cancer or mesothelioma tumors.
The tumor-suppressing gene drug, SFD-p16 and SFD-p53, targets three cell lines associated with the two cancers. Studies in mice showed the use of the inhalable gene therapy controlled cell growth and replication in these lines. The average volume of the tumors in these tests shrank thanks to the unique gene therapy.
There is a dire need for more treatment options for both diseases. Mesothelioma causes an average life expectancy of just 12-16 months for many patients who can’t have surgery. Lung cancer has a similar survival expectancy for patients, depending largely on the stage and type of the cancer.
Adding more treatment options for mesothelioma and for lung cancer – such as a gene therapy drug to target the genetic makeup of cancer cells and prevent them from growing as rapidly – will add precious weeks, months or even years to the lives of patients.
Using Gene Therapy for Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer
Mesothelioma and lung cancer are similar diseases due to their locations. Pleural mesothelioma occurs in the thin tissue lining around the lungs, and the disease often spreads to the lungs. Lung cancer occurs on the surface or within lung tissue. The two types of cancer often share symptoms – such as trouble breathing, coughing and chest pain – and therapies.
A list of immunotherapy drugs and targeted therapies are approved for lung cancer. Two immunotherapies are approved for mesothelioma. They also have similar surgery approaches, such as taking out the lung affected by tumors.
Gene therapy is another option to treat both cancers. Both diseases form when cells mutate due to genetic mutations. Adding a specific gene that suppresses tumors is one method of gene therapy. In the inhalable drug study, which was published in the medical journal Nature, p16 and p53 were the genes added. CAR T-cell therapy is a type of gene addition therapy since doctors add a gene to T cells that creates a new protein receptor to interact with a cancer cell’s unique protein.
Other types of gene therapy are killing genes that help tumors grow and survive, editing genes to make them more equipped to fight cancer, and repairing faulty genes to potentially help diseased cells die.
Mesothelioma gene therapy is a novel approach to treating the cancer. None of this type of treatment is approved for mesothelioma. There are no gene therapies approved for lung cancer, either. With more testing, more hope is given to patients that new options are coming.
Sources & Author
- Effects of inhalable gene transfection as a novel gene therapy for non-small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma. Nature. Retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-12624-4. Accessed: 05/26/2022.
Sources & Author