Cancer Treatment Breakthrough: New Drug Quadruples Survival Rates for Mesothelioma

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The fight against mesothelioma, an aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancer frequently associated with asbestos exposure, is being led by a novel medicine that has shown great promise. 

Scientists, led by a team at Queen Mary University of London, have unveiled a treatment that has been hailed as truly wonderful for its unprecedented success in extending survival rates and enhancing patient outcomes.

Mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the lining of organs such as the lungs, has long posed a significant challenge in the medical community. However, the latest research offers a ray of hope. 

The new drug, ADI-PEG20 (pegargiminase), marks a significant milestone as the first of its kind for mesothelioma in two decades. Its mechanism of action involves cutting off the tumor’s food supply, a novel approach that has yielded remarkable results.

In a pivotal study led by Professor Peter Szlosarek, patients with pleural mesothelioma received a combination of chemotherapy and either pegargiminase or a placebo. 

The results were striking: those who received pegargiminase alongside chemotherapy experienced a notable increase in survival, with an average of 9.3 months compared to 7.7 months for those on the placebo. Moreover, the three-year survival rates quadrupled, offering newfound hope to patients and their families.

Hitting Cancer’s Weak Spot

cancer-treatment-breakthrough-new-drug-quadruples-survival-rates-for-mesothelioma
The fight against mesothelioma, an aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancer frequently associated with asbestos exposure, is being led by a novel medicine that has shown great promise.

The success of this new treatment underscores years of dedicated research and collaboration. Professor Szlosarek’s groundbreaking discovery of the lack of a specific protein in mesothelioma cells laid the foundation for the development of ADI-PEG20. 

By targeting cancer’s metabolism and depleting arginine levels, the drug effectively inhibits tumor growth, offering a promising therapeutic option for patients facing this devastating disease. The significance of this achievement reverberates across the scientific community and beyond. 

Dr. Tayyaba Jiwani of Cancer Research UK emphasizes the power of discovery research in uncovering vulnerabilities within cancer cells, while Liz Darlison, chief executive of Mesothelioma UK, highlights the profound impact this breakthrough will have on patients and their families.

As the findings from the ATOMIC-meso trial are published in the prestigious journal JAMA Oncology, they pave the way for a new standard of care in mesothelioma treatment. With ongoing efforts to make this groundbreaking therapy accessible to all patients, there is renewed optimism in the fight against this relentless disease. 

The journey from discovery to clinical application exemplifies the power of scientific innovation and collaboration in transforming lives and offering hope in the face of adversity.

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