Experts are always looking for new cancer treatments to increase the survival rates of mesothelioma patients. One new study that involves growing tumors in a lab could provide breakthrough research for improving mesothelioma treatment.
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) are creating tiny tumor organoids from surgery patients’ cells and testing the effectiveness of specific drugs on the replica tumors. The study, which was published on the Communications Biology website, included four people. One of the patients had a rare form of ovarian cancer, and tests showed that the cyclin-kinase inhibitors drug class (which combat overproliferation of cancerous cells) effectively stopped the replica ovarian cancer tumor from growing.
If the study continues, researchers could uncover a new drug for mesothelioma treatment. Doing so would be a groundbreaking discovery for the medical field — and could improve the life expectancy of the approximately 3,000 Americans diagnosed each year with mesothelioma.
Current Treatments for Mesothelioma
There are currently few treatment options for cancer. Most mesothelioma patients rely on chemotherapy. Other approaches are radiation and — if the mesothelioma tumor is in an early stage — surgery. While chemotherapy has saved many lives, it’s not always effective.
According to the American Cancer Society, the two-year survival rate for Stage 1 of pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of the illness, is between 41% and 46%. The five-year survival rate is 16%, and the survival rates drop for patients with more progressive stages of the illness.
Chemotherapy involves powerful medications that kill cancerous cells in the body. The drugs specifically look for cells growing at a rapid rate, which is a primary characteristic of cancer spreading.
However, there are non-cancerous cells that proliferate, and chemotherapy drugs can target these essential cells and result in severe, even deadly, side effects. The risk factors associated with chemotherapy are why scientists want to find additional mesothelioma treatment methods.
There are numerous tests and clinical trials attempting to uncover new drugs for mesothelioma treatment. Visit the Mesothelioma Guide clinical trial database to learn more information about the ongoing studies, including how to participate to help mesothelioma treatment improve.
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- Lab grown tumors could personalize cancer treatment, study says. United Press International. Retrieved from: https://www.upi.com/Lab-grown-tumors-could-personalize-cancer-treatment-study-says/3381551196284/. Accessed: March 6, 2019.
- A simple high-throughput approach identifies actionable drug sensitivities in patient-derived tumor organoids. Communications Biology. Retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-019-0305-x. Accessed: March 6, 2019.
- Survival Statistics for Mesothelioma. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-statistics.html. Accessed: March 6, 2019.