Minnesota is the site of many cases of asbestos-related illnesses in large part because of its proximity to a source mine. Because so many cases have originated from this area, and because the prognosis for those who are stricken with Mesothelioma is so dismal, researchers are working furiously to come up with an effective treatment. Two studies currently being conducted by the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic have shown some remarkable promise.
In the first, the Mayo Clinic and the University are partnering in studying a strain of the measles virus that has been engineered to be harmless in and of itself, but toxic to cancer cells. This therapeutic approach is similar to the use of chemotherapy, and has already shown great success in the treatment of both ovarian cancer and a form of brain cancer. Initial results in the laboratory have been promising, with laboratory animals afflicted with Mesothelioma and injected with the measles virus living twice as long as those who did not receive the shot, and in a couple of cases completely cured.
The results of the laboratory studies have been encouraging enough that the group who is conducting the study has received permission to go ahead with a clinical trial on humans who have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma. These patients will have a catheter inserted in their chests; this will allow for both delivery of the virus and drainage of any fluid build-up resulting from the illness itself. The hope is that the tumors will shrink, as was the case with ovarian cancer tumors. If the approach works and is proven to be safe, it will probably be combined with chemotherapy for future treatment.
In another study by a Mayo oncologist, a medication called pazopanib is showing signs of providing Mesothelioma patients with an additional six months of life. The medication was originally approved for use in the treatment of kidney cancer, but its ability to target the growth of fast-growing blood cells originating within cancerous tissue has also proven effective in retarding the spread of Mesothelioma. Although this approach does not provide a cure, it can create a meaningful extension of life, particularly when you take into consideration the poor prognosis for Mesothelioma patients from time of diagnosis.
Many patients who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma are unaware that they are eligible to receive compensation to help them pay for their medical bills and other damages caused by their exposure to asbestos. A qualified Mesothelioma attorney can help you determine your best course of action.