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Exposure to asbestos in the workplace can lead to the contraction of a disease such as Mesothelioma. The most common form of Mesothelioma is Pleural Mesothelioma, a malignant cancer which forms on the lining of the lungs. The only approved treatment for this type of cancer is chemotherapy, with virtually no other options available if it is unsuccessful. However, a groundbreaking study introduces the possibility of a promising new treatment.
Keynote 0-28 is an ongoing trial that studies the effects of Keytruda, a checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy drug, on patients with Mesothelioma. This study- the first of its kind to present positive results- suggests that there may be a viable alternative to chemotherapy for those with advanced malignancies, including malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.
The study began two years ago and included 25 patients who had previously never been treated with a checkpoint inhibitor drug. By the end of the two year period, 14 patients had a reduction in tumor size. Generally, by the time those suffering from advanced Mesothelioma resort to second-line therapy, their life expectancy is only around six or seven months. In comparison, the median overall survival of patients in this study was 18 months. There are even four patients who have survived to the two year mark, an encouraging sign for the study’s lead author as well as those seeking alternative treatment.
While providing hope and increased longevity to those with Mesothelioma, this potential new treatment, if approved, could also present financial difficulties. Those suffering from this disease often have the additional burden of affording any treatment, as they can all be expensive. Fortunately, if the disease has an asbestos-related cause, a successful lawsuit could alleviate that burden by providing the compensation necessary to obtain the appropriate one.
Source: CureToday.com, “Immunotherapy May Be a Treatment Option for Mesothelioma,” Allie Casey, April 2, 2017
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