Mesothelioma Guide is a comprehensive resource for patients with mesothelioma, offering instant access to top doctors, cancer centers and treatment options.Our mission is to guide mesothelioma patients and their loved ones toward answers, care options, and free health solutions that improve their lives.
Patients who undergo mesothelioma surgery hope to wake up with most, if not all, of their tumors removed. However, a cancer-free result often isn’t achieved due to how difficult it can be to locate every mesothelioma tumor, especially microscopic ones.
This reality means people who undergo an initial cancer-removal surgery often need a second procedure to find residual tumors.
According to a report on the website Business Wire, Lumicell, Inc.’s in vivo imaging system is the focus of a feasibility study underway at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The project is testing the technology’s effectiveness in helping surgeons residual cancer cells that otherwise may go undetected during mesothelioma surgery. These leftover cancer cells either originated or metastasized into the peritoneum and, with the help of the technology, could also be removed during the same surgical procedure.
In addition to peritoneal mesothelioma, this test could help patients with cancers of the ovarian, appendiceal or gastrointestinal, meaning it could benefit thousands of people.
Why Peritoneal Mesothelioma Is Difficult to Entirely Remove
Peritoneal mesothelioma originates in the peritoneum, which is a thin, protective membrane that lines the abdominal cavity (which includes visceral organs such as the liver, diaphragm and intestines). Researchers estimate that peritoneal mesothelioma comprises between 10 and 15 percent of all mesothelioma cases.
The primary treatment method for peritoneal mesothelioma is cytoreductive surgery combined with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). Cytoreductive surgery is intended to remove all or most of the macroscopic (visible) peritoneal cancer tumors. Following the procedure, patients undergo HIPEC, also called “heated chemotherapy.” Doctors use HIPEC to prevent the growth of and eventually eliminate the microscopic cancer cells.
While HIPEC is effective as a follow-up treatment to cytoreductive surgery, there is a high possibility of recurrence for mesothelioma patients. This discouraging reality is due to how easily mesothelioma cancer cells can survive treatment. For this reason, many patients undergo a second surgery to ensure all tumors are removed.
How Lumicell Imaging Can Help With Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Lumicell’s technology could help surgeons locate these remnant cancer cells during the initial cytoreduction surgery. If a larger percentage of tumors are removed during the first procedure, there are fewer microscopic cells left during HIPEC and less likelihood of any surviving the treatment. Additionally, there is less need for a second mesothelioma surgery.
This study, which is being led by Massachusetts General Hospital’s Dr. James Cusack, will compare imaging from the Lumicell system with traditional microscopic imaging. There is a history of success, as recent cancer-related clinical trials used the Lumicell imaging system. According to the Business Wire report, around 225 participants, mostly women with breast cancer, relied on this technology during recent trials. Dr. Barbara Smith, the director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Breast Program and surgery professor at Harvard Medical School, is the lead investigator in these trials. In 2018, she reported promising results from using the imaging system during breast cancer surgery.
“Our study found that the Lumicell imaging system was effective for real-time identification of residual cancer intraoperatively,” she said, adding that she and others are “excited” to learn the results of the peritoneal-based study.
If you have this form of mesothelioma, you may be eligible to participate in one of many clinical trials related to the disease. Contact our registered nurse advocate, Jenna Campagna, at email@example.com. Additionally, you can visit our clinical trial database page for information on the ongoing mesothelioma-related trials.
Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience. You’re likely to have many questions for your doctor regarding treatment, prognosis and other topics.
As you learn more about mesothelioma, you may realize your questions regarding the disease aren’t just medical-related.
Many companies that produced, sold and used asbestos for much the 20th century knew of the mineral’s harmful effects but hid this information from their workers and the general public. The companies’ failure to warn is one of the reasons many mesothelioma patients are entitled to compensation from the corporations which put them in danger.
Knowing where to turn for legal help can be overwhelming, though. If you’re interested in filing a mesothelioma claim, how do you know which law firm or lawyer should handle your case?
Preparing a list of questions for your primary physician or mesothelioma specialist is understandable — and encouraged. Doing the same when looking for a mesothelioma lawyer is also welcomed by the top law firms. Here are six questions to ask each attorney you meet with to help you find the best mesothelioma lawyer.
How Long Has Your Firm Represented Mesothelioma Patients?
If you’re seeking legal assistance, you’ll want knowledgeable and experienced attorneys. Trusting your case with lawyers who specialize in asbestos litigation — and who regularly work with mesothelioma patients — is much more comforting than relying on a law firm with little to no experience in these types of cases.
Why Should I Hire You or Your Law Firm Instead of A Local One?
Choosing a national law firm to handle your case has numerous benefits. For starters, national firms have access to file cases in multiple states. Rather than just filing where you live, they can file a mesothelioma claim in the state where they believe your case will be processed quickly and receive substantial compensation. A local firm likely won’t have knowledge of the court systems in other areas of the country.
Additionally, many of the best mesothelioma lawyers want to provide as much convenience to clients as possible — and will travel to meet their clients in their hometown. Since the burden of travel is off your shoulders, there is little benefit to choosing a local firm.
Has Your Firm Been Involved With Nonprofit Organizations Benefiting Mesothelioma Patients?
Mesothelioma is a deadly disease, one that impacts not only the patient but also their loved ones. You’ll likely want to work with a law firm that genuinely cares for and wants to help those affected by mesothelioma.
How Will Your Law Firm Gather Information Regarding My Asbestos Exposure?
As a mesothelioma patient, you likely have many worries: planning for and receiving treatment, discussing your diagnosis with loved ones, and increasing your quality of life. However, stressing about when and how you were exposed to asbestos should not be your concern.
Work with a law firm that handles the research and investigation into your asbestos exposure. The valuable resources of a national firm include a team of experienced mesothelioma lawyers and knowledgeable staff. They can thoroughly check all possible asbestos exposure incidents and uncover the specific details associated with your asbestos exposure.
Have any National Organizations Recognized Your Law Firm’s Work?
There’s a reason certain law firms are more prestigious than others. Choose legal representation with a track record for helping victims receive compensation. Even if a firm gets recognition for work in multiple types of cases — not just mesothelioma litigation — doing so shows a history of success and leadership in litigation that you shouldn’t ignore.
How Much Will Your Law Firm’s Services Cost?
The answer should be “nothing upfront.” Find a law firm that works with clients on a contingency basis, which means the firm only receives a percentage of the awarded compensation. Choosing this type of attorney fee structure means you’ll avoid out-of-pocket legal fees during your case litigation.
Additionally, you won’t pay the firm anything if you don’t receive compensation. Attorneys who work on a contingency basis have incentive to attain the highest compensation amount possible for their clients.
You may have other questions to ask attorneys and law firms, but these six are a must for anyone seeking mesothelioma representation. Before selecting a lawyer, speak with a representative from Mesothelioma Guide. Our patient advocates can help you find the legal option that best fits your case.
Could a combination of two unorthodox treatment methods be the answer for late-stage pleural mesothelioma patients?
That’s what the medical industry hopes for after scientists delivered promising news to an audience last month at the annual American Association for Cancer Research conference.
According to a report on the ScienceDaily website, a preliminary clinical evaluation tested the effectiveness of genetically modified T-cell therapy on patients with pleural tumors. The experiment shows encouraging results for cancer patients, and a clinical trial will begin later in 2019. Mesothelioma is a focus of the study, too, as 19 of the 21 people included in the testing had late-stage pleural mesothelioma.
However, there are some twists — as regular T-cell therapy does not have a track record of helping people with these types of cancers. In fact, many people respond poorly to this type of treatment because T-cells attack the body’s healthy cells in addition to cancerous ones. When this occurs, the body becomes vulnerable to other health issues.
However, researchers involved in this clinical evaluation may have learned how to keep T-cells focused on specifically fighting tumor cells.
Unorthodox Treatment Methods Leading to Positive Results
Prasad S. Adusumilli is the thoracic surgery deputy chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a leader in the potentially groundbreaking study. He and his colleagues on the study created a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell that specifically targets mesothelin, which is a protein highly expressed in mesothelioma tumors. CAR is an engineered receptor protein that allows T-cells to target specific proteins.
The genetically modified T-cell, called IcasM28z, also includes a fail-safe gene called Icaspase-9. If the patient responds negatively to the therapy, this gene is activated and kills all CAR T-cells in the body.
There’s another outside-the-box approach to the study. In pre-clinical research, scientists discovered that CAR T-cells could become exhausted and ineffective even while residing in the tumor. To reactivate the cells in mice, researchers used anti-PD-1 checkpoint blockade agents. PD-1 is a checkpoint protein that prevents T-cell proteins from attacking cancerous and non-cancerous cells in the body. The anti-PD-1 agent allows the T-cells to reactivate and target cancer cells without any inhibitors.
“On the basis of these published observations, in some patients who received CAR T cells,” Adusumilli said in a report on ScienceDaily, “we administered anti-PD-1 agents off-protocol as next line of therapy.”
Phase 1 Results of the Study
During a 38-week evaluation of the 21 participants, researchers found no evidence of toxicity in the participants. They discovered that 13 of the patients still had CAR T-cells residing in the peripheral blood, and those patients’ blood had more than a 50 percent drop in the levels of mesothelin-related amino acids. Additionally, imaging studies showed evidence of tumor regression.
One of those patients had surgery and radiation to the chest following CAR T-cell treatment. According to Adusumilli, “the patient is doing well, with no further treatment” 20 months after their diagnosis.
Of the 21 participants in the study, 14 of them received anti-PD-1 agents. Two of them had total metabolic responses — meaning the body began naturally containing and killing the tumor — at 60 and 32 weeks, respectively. Five of the patients had partial metabolic responses following treatment and four still had progressing cancer.
Adusumilli summarized that the success so far “provides rationale to further investigate” combined treatment methods for aggressive cancers such as mesothelioma.
“If this approach is successful,” he said, “2 million patients with mesothelin-expressing solid tumors per year in the United States will be eligible for this treatment.” Approximately 3,000 Americans receive a mesothelioma diagnosis each year. The majority of them have pleural mesothelioma, which is a cancer along the thin membrane separating the lung cavity and chest wall.
The clinical trial set to begin in 2019 will use the combination of T-cell therapy and anti-PD-1 agents. According to the OncLive website, another CAR T-cell trial will begin in 2020.
Many clinical trials like this one are ongoing to uncover new approaches to controlling and killing the aggressive cancer. If you’re a mesothelioma patient and interested in participating in a clinical trial, contact our patient advocacy nurse Jenna Campagna, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-385-2024 (extension 102), or view our clinical trial database.
For years, companies hid the dangers of asbestos from public knowledge. Construction workers, military members and others unknowingly ingested or inhaled asbestos. Additionally, many of them put their loved ones at risk by bringing asbestos fibers attached to their clothes into their home.
Since asbestos exposure is the only consistent cause of mesothelioma, these companies are directly responsible for the death toll linked to this rare cancer. Victims and their families can, if they wish to, seek legal action against the liable companies.
The typical follow-up questions many victims have: How should I begin the mesothelioma claims process? When should I start it?
Answering the first question is simple. Contact a national law firm that specializes in asbestos litigation and has a track record of helping mesothelioma patients.
As for the second question, the answer also is simple: As soon as possible.
If you are a mesothelioma patient and victim of asbestos exposure, there are numerous reasons you should not wait to find a lawyer for your mesothelioma claim. Here are four of the most significant advantages to contacting a mesothelioma lawyer right away.
Focus on Medical Treatment and Family Time
Researching and investigating your past to uncover possible asbestos exposure incidents adds unnecessary stress to your life and wastes time you could spend more productively. Your priority as a mesothelioma patient should be receiving medical care and attaining the greatest quality of life.
Rely on a mesothelioma lawyer to handle all legal matters regarding your case. This allows you to focus on treatment and spend quality time with your loved ones. Many people who don’t immediately seek legal help become overwhelmed with their case — organizing the information, uncovering new evidence to support their claim and understanding the steps in the process.
Additionally, since mesothelioma usually takes between 20 and 50 years to develop, knowing when and how your asbestos exposure led to the disease is difficult. Reputable national law firms have the resources to uncover the specifics of your mesothelioma, including which asbestos exposure incidents led to the cancer.
Statute of Limitations
Statute of limitations is a law that puts a time limit on when a prosecutor can charge a person or company with a crime. The law ensures that convictions are based on complete and accurate information of the event or events in question — and not reliant on fading memories, lost evidence or witnesses who have disappeared.
Each state sets its statute of limitations for different types of crimes. Florida’s statute of limitation for asbestos litigation is different from Montana’s law. In most states, the statute of limitations begin when the patient is diagnosed or dies, and it lasts between one and four years.
The length of time you’re allowed to file a mesothelioma claim also may depend on the type of case — personal injury or wrongful death — as some states have different rules for each. Mesothelioma Guide lists the statute of limitations for each state to help you know the time limit for your case.
So, if you’re a victim of asbestos exposure, how can you ensure that your case is valid? Contact a mesothelioma lawyer and begin the process of filing a claim immediately after you receive your mesothelioma diagnosis.
Allow Your Lawyer Time to Make the Best Case on Your Behalf
Companies that exposed people to asbestos — thus exposing them to the risk of developing mesothelioma — are liable. Their negligence caused pain and suffering, in addition to rising medical costs associated with mesothelioma treatment.
However, in many cases, the plaintiff needs a lot of information to file a strong mesothelioma claim. These findings include work history, employment sites, medical records and more.
As a patient, you shouldn’t need to worry about uncovering many of these findings; leave it to the lawyers to handle. However, you should begin working with an attorney as soon as possible so they can start the process of building your case. Some claims take months to file. Waiting to ask a lawyer for help just delays — or could risk — you and your family receiving compensation.
Receive Compensation Quickly
Mesothelioma treatment is often expensive, and compensation can help offset the costs. There are decades of verdicts and settlements that support your right to compensation from the liable companies.
Most cases settle before ever reaching the trial phase, which means you’ll likely receive compensation in an expedited manner. Other claims involve asbestos trust funds, which were set up when asbestos manufacturing companies began filing for bankruptcy. To prevent these companies from avoiding future lawsuits from victims of their negligence, courts ordered them to establish trust funds. Claims against these funds usually result in quick payment to the victim.
If you are a mesothelioma victim or the family member of a patient, you have plenty of options to pursue legal action against the liable parties. Finding the right representation can be challenging, but Mesothelioma Guide is available to connect you with experienced attorneys. We’ve spent more than a decade helping mesothelioma patients and want to do the same for you. Fill out our free case evaluation form to begin the process of finding a mesothelioma lawyer.
Thousands of Americans are diagnosed each year with an asbestos-related disease. In the past few decades, however, there has been an increased effort to raise awareness of the substance’s dangers and organize people interested in the prevention of asbestos exposure.
The 15th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference is another opportunity to achieve progress in the fight against asbestos-caused diseases, including mesothelioma.
The conference, which is hosted by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, will be in Washington, D.C., from April 5-7. The event coincides with Global Asbestos Awareness Week, which will be April 1-7.
The organization’s website states that medical experts, survivors of asbestos-related diseases, lawmakers and other influencers will attend to share the latest research, advocacy efforts and more news involving the substance. Nearly 20 countries will be represented at this year’s conference.
If you’re interested in attending the three-day conference, visit the event’s website for a daily event schedule and information on how to register. The cost is between $100 and $450 depending on how many events you wish to attend, and discounted hotel reservations are available in a limited capacity.
How Asbestos Is Deadly
Asbestos is the only known source of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that kills approximately 3,000 Americans each year. In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos causes other life-threatening diseases and has been a major global health concern for decades.
The substance was commonly used in the construction and insulation industries until the 1980s. Many people who worked in these trades, along with asbestos-removal jobs, experienced high exposure levels. Another risk factor is secondhand exposure, which occurs when a person has asbestos attached to their clothes or skin and brings it into their friend or loved one’s home.
While the use of asbestos became more regulated in the 1980s, many old buildings still contain the substance. When these buildings are demolished or renovated, asbestos fibers become loose in the air and pose a threat to nearby people. According to the American Cancer Society, buildings that contain asbestos may decompose, which also results in dangerous asbestos fibers contaminating the indoor air.
Additionally, people who live, work or attend school near former asbestos manufacturing sites remain at significant risk.
The United States has yet to ban the substance from industrial use or as an ingredient in certain products. Talc-inclusive cosmetics and health products frequently contain asbestos because talc and asbestos are often found near each other in the earth.
A new clinical trial that combines gene therapy and virotherapy may soon offer pleural mesothelioma patients an alternative to status-quo chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Trizell Ltd, a specialist gene therapy company, is testing the effectiveness of TR002 on pleural mesothelioma patients. The company reported it is moving the clinical trial into Phase 3 of testing after promising results in earlier stages.
Dr. Daniel Sterman, one of the creators of TR002, called this “an exciting trial.” Sterman, the director of the Multidisciplinary Pulmonary Oncology Program at New York University, is a proponent of gene therapy as a treatment option for pleural mesothelioma patients.
“The results that we noted in our previous study showed significant prolongation of life expectancy and particularly so for about 25 percent of these refractory patients who have gone on to live two and in some cases three years and more,” Sterman added. “We will work hard to get this potentially groundbreaking clinical trial completed.”
How TR002 Combats Pleural Mesothelioma
TR002 is an adenovirus-mediated interferon alfa-2B, which involves a non-active virus transporting a cancer-fighting gene into the body. The investigational drug is administered by catheter into the pleural cavity, where it then breaks down and leaves only the active gene (interferon alfa-2B). Interacting with the gene causes the cells to produce the interferon alfa-2b protein, which the body naturally produces to fight off cancer. By injecting the gene into the pleura, TR002 causes the cells to increase their productivity of the protein and more effectively control the tumor.
Gemcitabine chemotherapy follows the administering of TR002. Medical experts use this chemotherapy drug to treat lung cancer and other types of cancer.
Pleural mesothelioma, a rare cancer that kills around 3,000 Americans each year, is similar to lung cancer based solely on the proximity of the tumor. Pleural mesothelioma forms in the chest cavity, the space separating the lung and chest wall. Inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers is the only known cause of pleural mesothelioma. When asbestos fibers enter a person’s body, they can irritate the cells along the pleura, a sheet-like lining on either side of the chest cavity. When these cells are irritated, they can mutate and become cancerous.
There are currently few widely used treatment options for pleural mesothelioma patients, many of who do not live longer than two years after their diagnosis date. However, TR002 has effectively managed the tumors of many people involved so far in Trizell’s study.
Test Results From Phase 2 of TR002 Trial
Phase 2, which occurred at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center, included 40 pleural mesothelioma patients whom were either newly diagnosed or for whom standard chemotherapy was ineffective. According to Trizell, the control rate of their cancer during Phase 2 was 87.5 percent, a promising amount compared to the usual prognosis of pleural mesothelioma.
The company also reported that the survival time for patients in the study nearly doubled compared to those given standard cancer treatment. Experts will expand the trial in Phase 3 to include testing sites in the United States, Europe, Australia and Russia.
Along with Sterman, Dr. Evan Alley and Dr. Steven Albelda helped create and implement the TR002 clinical trial. Alley is currently at the Cleveland Clinic Florida but worked at the University of Pennsylvania during the early stages of the trial. Albelda is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
Many tests are examining the effectiveness of gene therapy and other experimental approaches for treating mesothelioma. If you want to participate in a clinical trial, email our registered nurse advocate, Jenna Campagna, at email@example.com, or visit the Mesothelioma Guide clinical trial database.
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 percent. The five-year survival rate is 16 percent, 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.
A California jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson is responsible for a woman’s mesothelioma and must pay her $29.4 million, the latest result in a slew of lawsuits against the health and medical manufacturing company.
A Superior Court jury in Oakland favored a California woman, who claimed that both Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder and the company’s Shower to Shower body powder included asbestos. Using a product that includes asbestos is dangerous since asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer that kills approximately 3,000 people in the United States each year.
According to a report on Philly.com, the plaintiff’s doctors say she has an advanced form of mesothelioma and likely won’t live beyond 2020. The report states the victim testified during hearings that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder was used on her as a child. She added that she continued self-applying the baby powder as an adult for cleaning and makeup purposes.
Asbestos and Talc-Based Products
Asbestos can easily contaminate talc since the two minerals are often found near one another. When someone uses a talc-based product that includes asbestos, they may inhale or ingest the harmful substance. Once asbestos fibers enter the body, they can attach to the thin tissue layer protecting the heart, lungs and abdomen. Asbestos buildup along this tissue, often referred to as the mesothelium, irritates the cells, which then mutate and become cancerous.
Numerous manufacturers of talc-inclusive products — such as Claire’s and some of their cosmetic items — have faced legal issues recently due to the link between talc, asbestos and mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson is at the center of the talc-contamination controversy.
Reuters published a report in December 2018 that revealed Johnson & Johnson knew for many years of asbestos contamination in their talc products. The company’s awareness of the issue and decision not to disclose it to the public is a significant part of why juries have ruled Johnson & Johnson liable in seven trial cases.
The company is the defendant in more than 13,000 lawsuits regarding talc-contaminated products, notably the company’s baby powder. The largest financial compensation in a Johnson & Johnson case is $4.7 billion, which was awarded to 22 women who used the company’s baby powder and developed cancer.
For decades, many companies exposed people to asbestos while not revealing the harmful effects of the substance. Their disregard resulted in many lives lost and families impacted due to mesothelioma. If you have this terrible illness and used or still use a talc-based product, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.
There are 55 countries with asbestos bans, largely because of the substance’s harmful effects and link to mesothelioma. Some lawmakers hope the United States soon joins the list.
Members of the House of Representatives and Senate introduced a bill earlier this month that would ban the mining, importation, sale and use of asbestos in the country. Nine senators and 21 representatives sponsored the legislation.
The bill, titled House Resolution 5114, would alter the Toxic Substances Control Act to prevent “the manufacture, processing, use, distribution in commerce and disposal of asbestos and mixtures and articles containing asbestos.” If passed, the law would be the government’s strongest move yet in protecting residents from severe health risks.
Current Asbestos Regulations
The legislation is the latest government move to restrict or ban asbestos manufacturing, distribution and use. Earlier in 2019, the New Jersey legislature passed a bill that outlaws all asbestos-included products. While the state aims to become the first in the country to enact an asbestos ban, the federal government recently loosened its own restrictions.
If H.R. 5114 becomes law, the resolution would change the Environmental Protection Agency’s current asbestos regulations. The EPA changed its regulations in 2018 to allow the manufacturing of asbestos-included products on a case-by-case basis.
Dr. Richard Lemen, the former deputy director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said that there is increasing enthusiasm in the U.S. for an asbestos ban.
“It’s certainly high time the United States follows the pattern of many other countries and bans this carcinogen,” he said, according to the Montana Standard. “We now know that the number of deaths due to asbestos has been severely underreported in the past.”
The Connection Between Asbestos and Cancer
Instituting a nationwide asbestos ban would be significant progress toward reducing exposure to the toxic substance. However, people should remain aware of the dangers associated with asbestos.
Approximately 3,300 people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with mesothelioma, and asbestos exposure is the primary cause of the incurable cancer. The bill is named the “Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act” in honor of Alan Reinstein, who died in 2006 from mesothelioma. His wife, Linda Reinstein, is the director of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and a major proponent in a nationwide asbestos ban.
“A ban on asbestos means no family needs to experience the heartbreaking loss of a loved one from asbestos-related disease ever again,” she said to the Montana Standard.
Close to 3,000 Americans die each year from mesothelioma. The consequences of asbestos exposure is a reality that Dr. Raja Flores, the chief of thoracic surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, understands better than most.
As one of the top mesothelioma surgeons in the country, Flores believes the bill is a necessary step in reducing the impact of the rare form of cancer.
“This bill will save more lives than I ever could with my scalpel,” Flores told the newspaper.
A clinical trial has dosed its first mesothelioma patient to examine the effectiveness of a new drug on attacking cancerous proteins. Curis, Inc., a biotechnology company researching new cancer treatments, is administering doses of CA-170 to patients with advanced mesothelioma tumors. The oral medication is a checkpoint antagonist of PD-L1, PD-L2 and VISTA, all of which are proteins common for pleural mesothelioma patients with epithelioid histology.
How Does CA-170 Work?
CA-170 is a form of immunotherapy, which involves improving the body’s natural ability to fight cancer. When cancer forms, the body’s immune system becomes vulnerable. Cancer cells produce proteins that suppress immune system activators.
When these activators are suppressed, the immune system does not naturally prevent cancerous cells from multiplying. The disease then spreads to other areas of the body.
Curis, Inc. is testing whether CA-170 effectively targets the proteins that affect the immune system, thus helping the body prevent the spreading of cancerous cells along with additional infections.
The proteins are associated with epithelioid cells, which is the most common type of mesothelioma cells. According to the website Immuno-Oncology News, more than 90 percent of mesothelioma cells include VISTA, which is why medical experts are testing drugs to find a combatant to the protein. CA-170 is the only VISTA antagonist currently in clinical trial.
What to Expect from the Clinical Trial
The study is currently in Phase 1, which involves testing on up to 300 patients with an advanced tumor who have not had success with approved cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation. According to the clinical trial’s detail page on the United States National Library of Medicine website, the first part of Phase 1 involves a once- or twice-daily dosage schedule at escalating amounts, which will help experts determine the safest dose during future phases.
The initial stage involves all 300 participants, regardless of the type of cancer. The second half of Phase 1 consists of testing the selected dose on mesothelioma patients and others who have tumors mainly associated with the PD-L1, PD-L2 and VISTA proteins.
When Curis Inc. begins Phase 2, the study’s experts hope to know the safest maximum dose of CA-170, possible side effects of the drug and whether the medication has any impact on the tumor.
The trial started in May 2016 and is expected to conclude in January 2020. Testing is taking place in the United States, Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom. The U.S. locations still recruiting participants are:
Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai (New York City)
Karmanos Cancer Institute (Detroit, Michigan)
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston)
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer for which there are limited treatments. Patients can participate in clinical trials to receive treatment options not readily available otherwise. Additionally, participating patients can become an essential part of breakthrough research to improving the prognosis for survival.
For more information on the CA-170 trial, including whether you can participate, email our registered nurse advocate, Jenna Campagna, at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about other clinical trials for mesothelioma, including how to join, visit the Mesothelioma Guide clinical trial database.