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Mesothelioma Research

With the advanced research being performed to learn more about mesothelioma, there have been many new approaches to how doctors are treating patients with the life threatening disease. Some have been more successful than others, and the research is far from over. At this stage, the newest innovations for mesothelioma treatments are: immunotherapy, heat therapy, gene therapy, and photodynamic therapy.

Immunotherapy was designed to use the body’s own immune system to fight off the cancer. This type of therapy is simple; it tries to take the body’s immune system and revitalize it as close as possible to its natural, healthy state. When the natural immune system is working strong, the chances for the disease to be fought off are high. When a patient has cancer, it is difficult to rejuvenate the immune system without help. Naturally occurring biological response modifiers (BRMs) are found in a persons system and are able to be replicated within a lab. These modifiers are just as effective and help restore an immune system that is not up to par to battle the disease.

Heat therapy was researched and designed to work with chemotherapy treatments. The area is brought up to a higher temperature before the chemotherapy is distributed. The two substances that are heated for this type of treatment are called cisplatin and doxorubicin. After they are heated to a temperature of about 109 degrees Fahrenheit and are injected into the cancerous cells. They are then injected into the cells because they are more susceptible to toxic effects of different drugs at higher temperatures.

Gene therapy is a type of study that is ongoing. Doctors are hopeful that this specific therapy will become better integrated typical treatment for cancer in the future. A prominent type of gene therapy used at this time is called suicide gene therapy. Genetic manipulation involves genetic manipulation of a virus so that tumor cells invaded by the virus become susceptible to antiviral drugs and/or to the bodies own immune system. The most success that has been found with this type of cancer treatment is within the early stages.

Most of the new treatments are under experimentation at this point in time. One of the most common experimental treatments that are used during surgery to prevent the occurrence of mesothelioma is photodynamic therapy. This type of therapy is used with a pleurectomy (removal of the lining of the lung) or an extrapleural pneumonectomy (removal of both the lungs and the pleural). The patient is injected with the drug called Photofrin. This drug allows high intensity light to become active and kill cancerous cells. The doctors distribute this medication by placing a cable into the patient’s chest, and turning the light on. The light on the end of the cable interacts with the sensitive drug creating an atmosphere that kills away the tumor infested cells. Unfortunately, one of the most dangerous risks is the sensitivity to the sunlight and the sun damage that can result to overexposure too soon after the procedure.

The patient must remember that when considering any of these types of new treatment, to consult with their doctor to make sure that they are candidates for these types of healing processes. It is also important to note that earlier stages of mesothelioma can are treated in a more successful manner than those who have been diagnosed in a later stage. Therefore, some of these methods of treatment may not be appropriate for those who fall into that category.