Photoimmunotherapy Offers Hope for Better Mesothelioma Outcomes

Mesothelioma is a malignant form of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Individuals suffering from this deadly disease often have a poor prognosis. In fact, once diagnosed, most mesothelioma patients live less than a year. To date, treatments for the disease are limited and often palliative. There is no cure for mesothelioma.

Recently, Japanese researchers tested a new treatment for mesothelioma on mice called Photoimmunotherapy. The treatment effectively reduced the size of tumors in mice suffering from the deadly disease.

The therapy, developed at the National Cancer Institute in the US, is a new type of cancer immunotherapy that is aimed at making cells sensitive to light. Once these cells are sensitive to light, doctors can use light to effectively kill those cells.

If this treatment continues to advance, it could help improve outcomes for mesothelioma patients. 

How Light Kills Cancer Cells

Standard cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, are not very effective against mesothelioma. As such, researchers set out to find a new way to kill these cells and help treat terminal patients. Photoimmunotherapy is a promising new treatment in the fight against mesothelioma. 

How does it work?

Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer. With photoimmunotherapy, doctors add light into the equation. However, in order for the light to be effective, they must make the target cells sensitive to the light. The way they do this is by using a chemical to make specific cells more sensitive. 

Which cells do they target?

Sometimes, doctors target the cells that help mesothelioma tumors hide from the immune system. Once those cells are destroyed, the body’s own immune system can more effectively fight the cancer. They can also target the specific cancer cells by targeting the protein they produce. 

New Photoimmunotherapy Proves Promising

Japanese scientists took the concept of photoimmunotherapy one step further by targeting podoplanin. Pleural mesothelioma cells produce more of this than any other cell. Treated cells then died when exposed to light. When researchers aimed more light at the cells, they saw a significant reduction in tumors.

It is important to know that results seen in mice do not necessarily indicate similar results in humans. However, researchers believe that PDPN-targeted NIR-PIT could be a promising new treatment in the fight against malignant pleural mesothelioma. 

Fighting Mesothelioma

For now, the most effective way to fight mesothelioma is early diagnosis and treatment. Although there is still no cure, early treatment can improve life expectancies and outcomes. Mesothelioma patients should speak to their doctors about the most effective forms of treatment available, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. In some cases, patients may be eligible to participate in clinical trials or experimental treatments.

Treating mesothelioma is not cheap. Chemotherapy and other forms of treatment are expensive. Mesothelioma patients and their families deserve to be compensated for their suffering. When employers wrongfully expose their workers to asbestos, they can be found liable. However, obtaining the compensation you deserve is not always easy. That is why mesothelioma patients need someone on their side from the very start. 

Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? We Can Help!

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to speak to a Louisiana mesothelioma attorney as quickly as possible. Without an attorney on your side, collecting the money you need and deserve is not easy.

Landry & Swarr is a New Orleans-based law firm with a key area of practice in asbestos-related cases. Our lawyers understand the impact of occupational and secondary exposure to asbestos. If you believe that you may have contracted mesothelioma due to contact with asbestos, call 504-299-1214 and speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options.