The Baylor College of Medicine Mesothelioma Treatment Center has begun enrolling patients in a clinical research study evaluating an investigational drug (anetumab ravtansine) that shows promise for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. As you probably know, mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that develops in the mesothelial tissue lining the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Pleural mesothelioma specifically develops in the pleura, a thin layer of tissue surrounding the lungs.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, and though long-term exposure leads to a greater risk of developing the disease, short-term and one-time exposures to asbestos are also known to cause this cancer.
The investigational drug being studied has shown promise amongst those patients who have already started on chemotherapy, or whose cancer has progressed after attempting chemotherapy. Mesothelioma is particularly challenging to treat because of the length of time that can pass between exposure to asbestos and detection of the disease.
It is not uncommon for 30-40 years to elapse between asbestos exposure and a resulting mesothelioma diagnosis, and by the time the disease is detected it is often in the most advanced stages. This inability to detect mesothelioma in the earliest stages is a major reason why a diagnosis generally carries with it a life expectancy of only 6-18 months. Currently, treatment options are extremely limited for patients whose mesothelioma has progressed or does not respond to initial chemotherapy treatment.
The study is currently in Phase II clinical trials, and is now testing the safety and effectiveness of the investigational drug against more commonly used medications. Over the course of the study, 210 eligible patients will randomly receive the investigational medication or a control drug every three weeks. Though this treatment is not expected to result in a cure, researchers hope that the new drug will extend the life expectancy of those who have the most advanced and aggressive forms of pleural mesothelioma.
If you would like more information about this subject, you can contact Grant Cofer, a lawyer in our firm’s Toxic Torts Section. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or by email at Grant.Cofer@beasleyallen.com.
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