Treatment options for mesothelioma patients are determined on a case-by-case basis and are contingent on things like the location and stage of the cancer, the patient’s age and overall health, and the patient’s personal decisions. Traditional treatment methods are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation but the effectiveness of these treatments is limited. In response to this, a number of experimental therapies are being researched and evaluated; however, how well they work and their risks are not completely known.
Some current experimental therapies, as well as their processes are listed below:
FREE Mesothelioma Information
Angiogenesis Inhibition Therapy
Angiogenesis is the bodily process in which blood is delivered to tumors via the blood vessels and capillaries, this blood supply is what supplies tumors, both malignant and benign. In the case of mesothelioma, along with other forms of cancer, tumors are located in proximity to tissues which are full of blood, allowing them to grow at a faster rate. Angiogenesis utilizes inhibition therapy drugs known as angiogenic inhibitors. These drugs block the proteins that allow the angiogenesis process, prohibiting tumor growth.
Gene therapy attempts to alter the genetic makeup of cells as an attempt to fight off disease. Malignant cells are injected with genes using a virus that is no longer capable of producing. Afterward, the cells are then taken from the patient and exposed to a virus constructed of genes that can help slow tumor growth. Once this occurs, the boosted cells are put back into the patient so that the genes can continue to work. This form of experimental treatment is currently being tested in various clinical trials throughout the country. There have been significant results in animal testing of gene therapy; however, its effectiveness on humans is still being determined. Some potential risks associated with gene therapy is that there could be effects on healthy cells, as well as the cancerous ones.
The human body’s immune system helps people to stay healthy by identifying and attacking “foreign” cells. Unfortunately, the immune system does not consider mesothelioma cells as being foreign in nature. Immunotherapy attempts to aid the body in recognizing these abnormal cells by using biologic response modifiers. This experimental treatment has shown promise when used in the early stages of cancer, effectively reducing the size of the cancerous tumors in some patients.
Photodynamic therapy uses a particular drug that makes cancerous cells sensitive to certain wavelengths of light. After being administered with this drug, the cancerous cells are exposed to the light during a surgical procedure, in an attempt to kill them. This mode of treatment has been known to cause some complications in patients with mesothelioma and is not widely used in its treatment.
In addition to traditional and experimental methods of treatment, patients might also want to consider other options such as holistic medicine, changes in their diet, or breathing exercises and yoga. Whatever methods the patient decides, their doctor will likely recommend that the patient take an active role in their choice of treatment and therapy options.