Drug combo may be able to help treat mesothelioma, according to study

According to a recently published multi-center study, a particular combination of compounds may provide a new avenue of treatment for an aggressive form of cancer known as malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma, which is the most common form of mesothelioma, is proven to be caused by asbestos exposure. Specifically, the deadly cancer develops after the tiny asbestos fibers become embedded in the lining of the lungs - however the disease may not manifest itself for several years after exposure.

Researchers involved in the recent study - which was published in the online medical journal BMC Cancer - noted that roughly 3,000 people are diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma every year in the United States. And, given the fact that malignant pleural mesothelioma is exceedingly resistant to current standard forms of cancer treatment, new treatments need to be developed.

In particular, researchers examined the impact of combining two different compounds to fight malignant pleural mesothelioma cells: Proteasome inhibitors (PI) and TNF alpha-Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL). Researchers found that while malignant pleural mesothelioma cells were generally resistant to each treatment when used alone, their combination resulted in "robust" cell death in the malignant pleural mesothelioma cells.

Given the severity of pleural mesothelioma, not to mention its resistance to treatment, hopefully this new drug combination will prove to be an effective tool for fighting the terrible disease. Unfortunately, without more effective treatments thousands of asbestos exposure victims face an uphill battle.

Dangers of asbestos exposure

Tragically, the problems associated with mesothelioma are not going to deteriorate without a fight since asbestos exposure can be quite common. For instance, many homes over a few decades old likely have some type of asbestos-contained material in them - such as insulation around pipes, ducts, wiring and in the walls. Sadly, this means that the construction workers who installed or worked on these products - plumbers, carpenters and roofers - were also likely exposed to asbestos.

And, since mesothelioma may not even manifest itself for 20 to 40 years after exposure, many construction workers may not even develop the lethal cancer until their retirement years.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos, it is advisable to speak with an experienced mesothelioma attorney who can delineate what your options may be. A skilled attorney can not only help determine what the source of your asbestos exposure was, but also assist in ensuring your rights are protected.