First Mesothelioma Clinical Trial Using Lynparza to Begin
Everyone has no doubt seen the commercials about immunotherapy and the positive results this relatively new form of cancer treatment is producing.
Patients are living longer and dealing with far fewer side effects than those caused by harsher treatments like chemotherapy.
Yes, there are certainly side effects and drawbacks, and the treatment doesn’t work for all types of cancer currently, but it’s possible that the day is drawing near when immunotherapy will be the treatment of choice for people battling all kinds of cancer.
Mesothelioma has been a tough to treat cancer ever since it was first diagnosed nearly a century ago. Mesothelioma patients often live less than a year from diagnosis, and though some advances in treatment have allowed a small percentage of patients to make it to that all-important five-year mark, that’s certainly still the exception rather than the norm.
But that could change.
The National Institutes of Health is sponsoring more and more clinical trials using immunotherapy to treat mesothelioma patients, especially pleural mesothelioma, the type that affects the lining of the lungs.
Just this week, they’ve announced the start of a new trial testing the immunotherapy drug known as Lynparza (olaparib), a protein inhibitor and targeted therapy already shown to have some success in treating breast and ovarian cancer.
This Phase II clinical trial will be for victims of both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma and will include patients that have been previously treated with standard chemotherapy, likely Alimta ™ along with a platinum-based chemotherapy drug, which has become the routine treatment for the disease.
This is a single-center trial, which means it will only be conducted in one location. The lead study doctor will be Dr. Raffitt Hassan of the National Cancer Institute. He plans to enroll about 40 patients in the trial and looks forward to results similar to those produced by a study done at University of Florida Health Center late last year.
In that study, Lynparza was combined with a similar drug – niraparib – and the combination showed “the impressive ability to induce synthetic lethality in mesothelioma cell lines in the laboratory,” say the study authors.
This time, of course, real cancer patients are involved, and the hope is that the results will be equally as impressive and that victims of the asbestos-caused cancer will be able to enjoy a longer lifespan.