New Treatment Options Provide Hope for Mesothelioma Patients

July 28, 2018
New Treatment Options Provide Hope for Mesothelioma Patients

In recent years, research into the deadly disease known as mesothelioma has produced promising results. In the United States, there are around 3,000 new diagnoses each year, a number that has leveled off somewhat. Still, any amount of mesothelioma diagnoses is tragic, and medical researchers are trying to ensure that a diagnosis isn’t a death sentence.

Photodynamic Therapy

In July 2016, researchers unveiled a study at a convention for the American Association of Physicists that looked at photodynamic therapy (PDT, and otherwise known as light therapy) as a treatment option for mesothelioma. The study examined the use of PDT in combination with the more common treatment option of surgery.

What the researchers found was that PDT was successful in eliminating any remaining mesothelioma cells after a surgical procedure. Surgeries of this kind usually remove a great deal of the cancerous cells, but they can’t get everything. With light therapy, however, doctors were able mitigate the spread of remaining cells and effectively prevent relapse.

Nanohyperthermia

Nanohyperthermia might sound like a nonsense word, but, as a treatment option for mesothelioma, it’s all business. It basically entails heating up tumors to make them more malleable and receptive to chemotherapy and other standard treatments. The results of the French study were published in a 2017 edition of Theranostics.

In general, most traditional treatment options are ineffective against the proliferation of mesothelioma because the tumors are often stiff and unreceptive to most therapeutic instruments. So, researchers employed nanohyperthermia by heating tumors up to as high as 125° F. After just three minutes of exposure to heat, the tumors initially hardened more, but then became much softer and more susceptible to treatments shortly thereafter. Although this method requires more research, it could prove to be the secret to mesothelioma treatment success.

Intravenous Vitamin C

We all know Vitamin C is important which is why it’s one of the most common supplements you can find. But, it can also be used to combat mesothelioma according to a University of Iowa study published in a December 2016 edition of Science Daily. The study took a much different path than other studies that had previously looked at Vitamin C’s efficacy in killing mesothelioma cells. In those earlier studies, Vitamin C had been delivered to patients orally. This new study, however, delivered the vitamin intravenously.

The researchers also used much higher doses of Vitamin C, which proved to be effective against mesothelioma cells. The study noted that the diseased cells struggled to remove hydrogen peroxide which the excess Vitamin C produced. Healthy cells, on the other hand, had no problem expelling peroxide, because of the existence of catalase, an enzyme that can remove hydrogen peroxide. Cancerous cells did not have as much catalase and were restricted by the added hydrogen peroxide.

Clearly, the field of mesothelioma research is really making strides. It won’t be much longer until that research proves to be fully successful in treating many cases of the disease. For now, mesothelioma patients will have to rely on current treatment options, but they can certainly hold out hope for new ones that are always in the pipeline.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call or email us for a free consultation.