New Mesothelioma Drug Chemotherapy
treatments, when applied to mesothelioma, an incurable malignant cancer, are attempts to slow down and ease the effects of the spread of the fatal disease to adjacent body tissue areas.
Alongside surgery and radiation therapy, the use of particular chemotherapy medications, which have been used to treat cancers since the 1950s, have always shown more positive results in helping to prolong a patients life.
It is because there is an unusually long gestation period of some 15 to 40 years from the original sustained period of asbestos exposure and the breathing in the deadly fiber dust to when the first signs mesothelioma or asbestosis disease become apparent, that a confirmed diagnosis occurs at a late stage in the spread of the cancer. Expected survival is around 4 to 18 months. Chemotherapy and palliative treatments are designed to improve the quality of life remaining.
Although there is a three year time limit from confirmed diagnosis for an asbestosis lawyer to make a claim for mesothelioma compensation on behalf of the patient, often the spouse or a close family member will continue with the claim.
In the last five years, the most commonly used chemotherapy medication for mesothelioma is Alimta, which is specifically designed for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma by acting to block the enzymes required for DNA replication and cell division.
It is generally used when surgery is not an option, in combination with a platinum-based drug called Cisplatin. This drug is a single agent with a relatively low response rate of less than 15 per cent in most reported pleural mesothelioma cases, unless it is combined with other chemotherapy medications to improve response rates.
Described as a first-line drug treatment for patients with advanced malignant mesothelioma, together, the two medications have shown to be the most effective by adding an average of three months to the lives of patients, helping to reduce symptoms and improving quality of life.
Recently, new medical research suggests that other drug combinations can provide near identical results at a lower cost, such as Pemetrexed with Cisplatin, and a newer combination of Tomudex with Cisplatin. Although the overall response, progression free and survival were not significantly different, further study revealed that the Pemetrexed and Cisplatin combination was an effective second-line option, particularly for younger mesothelioma patients, and those patients whose disease was held in check by the first line chemotherapy for 12 months or more.
Researchers concluded that many limitations exist with the current findings and additional clinical trials of a combined Pemetrexed/Cisplatin use as a second-line treatment for mesothelioma are needed.