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Anti-Cancer Drug Perifosine May Aid In The Treatment Of Mesothelioma

Perifosine is an oral anti-cancer drug that inhibits the ability of the cells to use the protein kinase Akt. Akt is used at the cellular level to help with metabolism, the death of cells, and the proliferation of cells. Perifosine has been given Orphan Drug Status to treat multiple Myeloma blood cancer. It is currently in phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of this type of blood cancer.

There is hope for the treatment of Mesothelioma, as well. Perifosine has been shown to inhibit the EGFR/MET-AKT1/3 axis, which could prove useful in the treatment of Mesothelioma.

The asbestos linked cancer, Mesothelioma, is an extremely aggressive disease that attacks the mesothelium, which is the membrane sack that surrounds almost all human organs. Approximately 2500 new cases of Mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each and every year.

A recent study published in Plos One, an online medical journal, explained that studies have been performed using Perifosine to treat Mesothelioma and it has been effective in interfering with the cancer cell membranes, and in turn, halting their growth and development. When a combination of Perifosine and Cisplatin (a chemotherapy drug) was used, the results were even more pronounced.

Since Mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive types of cancer, finding a treatment option that actually halts the development of the cancer cells could be a great option for patients with this disease. This might actually give physicians the opportunity to remove or treat the cells already present if the constant spreading of the disease could be slowed or stopped.

There are many treatment combinations for Mesothelioma. The best treatment options vary from patient to patient depending on the stage of the cancer and the strength of the patients immune system. Perifosine might very well be an excellent option to use in combination with other treatments to stop the malignancy of the cancer and treat the cancer cells that already exist.

Each patient needs to work closely with physicians and specialists to ensure the best treatment plan possible for the stage of the disease. Since Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer, treatments may need to be decided quickly to help stop the progression of the cancer. Perifosine may be able to help slow the progression of the cancer, thus giving patients more of a chance to consider all of the treatment options before deciding on one. Every patient and every situation is different, thus the best treatment option should be tailored to meet the needs of the patient.

England Opens First Tissue Bank For Mesothelioma

Papworth Hospital, which is part of Cambridge University Health Partners, has opened the first ‘Mesobank.’ This facility will be used collect anonymous tissue samples from patients with Mesothelioma. The tissue samples will be used for research and testing in an attempt to further the treatment of Mesothelioma and hopefully find a cure for this extremely aggressive form of cancer.

Although Mesothelioma is rare in England, with only about 2,300 cases diagnosed each year, they have the highest diagnostic and mortality rate per capita than any other place in the world. The mortality rate for this disease is extremely high, and the alarming number of newly diagnosed cases per year has become a problem in this country.

Dr. Robert Rintoul is the physician in charge of the new Mesobank at Papworth Hospital. He feels that Mesothelioma has been a neglected form of cancer as far as research and studies go. The purpose of the tissue bank is to allow easier access to samples for the purposes of testing and research to find more affordable, quicker, and more effective treatment options.

The way in which the tissues will be stored and categorized will allow researchers to build a “Tissue Mircoarray,” according to representatives from the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund. This will in turn make it easier and more affordable for scientists and researchers to test hundreds of samples simultaneously.

The Mesobank also has a goal of collecting blood and fresh tumor samples from at least 300 patients over the next three years. This is necessary because some types of testing require the tumor samples to be fresh and new.

The Mesobank plans to offer 20 cell lines for Mesothelioma. The bank will be accepting blood and tissue samples from scientists and doctors from across the United Kingdom. Up to this point in time, research has been limited to samples that can be obtained by focus groups of research patients assigned to a particular study.

The Mesobank will allow for longer studies and more in depth research over time, which is not always a viable option for Mesothelioma patients. It is the goal of doctors, scientists, and researchers to develop helpful treatment options that increase the quality of life, and prolong the lives of Mesothelioma patients. The long term goal for all of these groups is to develop a cure for this aggressive and deadly cancer. Mesothelioma cases continue to grow and this disease is claiming way to many lives across the globe each and every year. The goal of the Mesobank is to help stop this trend and start reversing it.

Understanding The Stages And SurgicalTreatments For Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive form of cancer that is believed to be caused by Asbestos exposure. Treatment options for Mesothelioma vary depending on the stage of the cancer at diagnosis and at the time of treatment. Treatment options tend to work better in the earlier stages of disease progression.

Stages Of Mesothelioma

There are 4 different stages of Mesothelioma. Staging the disease allows doctors to determine the severity, and to determine if the cancer has started to spread or if it is localized. There are several different diagnostic tests the physician may use to determine the stage of Mesothelioma.

Stage 1: This is the earliest and least severe stage of Mesothelioma. The cancer is localized in this stage, and is usually just found in one area of the mesothelium.

Stage 2: In this stage, the cancer is in the original site, and has also moved to the lymph nodes.

Stage 3: The cancer has metastasized and moved to other areas of the body. Common areas infected in stage 3 include the heart, diaphragm, past the diaphragm, peritoneum, and mediastinum.

Stage 4: The cancer has spread to tissue and organs throughout the body.

Surgical Intervention

There are two primary types of surgery for the treatment of Mesothelioma. The first type is Pneumonectomy. This type of surgery involves removing the infected lung. This only works if only one of the lungs is infected with Mesothelioma. It is an extremely complicated surgery, and can lead to difficulty breathing, as it reduces air capacity by half. Normally, the surgeon will only agree to this treatment if the body can handle it and breathing will be normal after the procedure.

The second type of surgery is called Extrapleural Pneumonectomy. This type of surgery removes the infected lung and all of the tissue around it. It usually means removing the pericardium (membrane around the heart), diaphragm, and parietal pleura (membrane that lines the chest cavity). This surgery is extremely rare and risky. It has had good results in slowing the spread of the cancer, and has had the best outcome for long-term survival.

The surgical process for these procedures generally looks like this.

1. General anesthesia will be administered to the patient.

2. Surgeon opens up the chest with a large incision. In some cases, the 6th rib is removed to make more room for the removal of the lung and surrounding tissue.

3. The infected lung is collapsed and the blood vessels are tied off.

4. The bronchial tube is clamped.

5. The infected lung is removed.

6. Synthetic products are used to add form to the chest wall where supporting tissue was removed.

7. The chest is closed up using sutures, in most cases. A drain is temporarily inserted into the cavity of the chest.

8. An epidural is used for 2 days or so to control the pain. The patient is in the hospital for approximately 2 weeks following the surgery.

These surgical procedures are extremely complicated, and thus, they are rare. The cancer has to be in the earliest stage, and the surgery will only be done if it can all be removed. In the case of successful surgery, the prognosis for the patient greatly increases.

Mesothelioma Treatment Using Immunotherapy Has Potential

Immunotherapy is used to treat a variety of conditions and diseases. Immunotherapy allows to the body to use its natural immune responses, however enhanced, to fight against the toxins, tumors, or other detrimental organisms in the body.

There are several types of cancer that have been successfully treated with Immunotherapy. According to an article recently published in The Lancet Oncology, two researchers from the National Cancer Institute discussed several Immunotherapy techniques that have the potential of positive outcomes for the treatment of Mesothelioma.

One type of Immunotherapy extracts the dendritic cells from the body and stimulates them into a cytotoxic response that fights cancer cells. Once these cells have been harvested and stimulated, they are returned to the body, often times via an inactive virus. The newly stimulated dendritic cells then help the body to initiate an immune response to fight against the cancer cells and tumors that are producing a specific antigen. Currently, there is a cancer vaccine known as Provenge that has been developed using dendritic Immunotherapy.

Another type of Immunotherapy uses the live bacterium, Listeria. This process allows the bacterium to carry specific antigens into the tumor cells. Listeria produces specific chemicals that allow it to penetrate the body without being detected until it is in the cancer cells. This makes the Listeria vaccine a great method of delivering cancer fighting antigens into the damaged cells.

Allogenic vaccines are also being developed for Mesothelioma. These vaccines are developed by taking tumor cells from the body, treating them, and returning them to the body of the patient they were harvested from.

WT1 analogue peptide vaccinations are also being developed for the potential treatment of Mesothelioma. This vaccine is able to detect specific chemicals released from cancer cells and then induce specific immune responses from the bodies T-cells.

Physicians treating Mesothelioma need to carefully evaluate which stage the disease is in before attempting to use Immunotherapy The disease stage plays a huge role in the outcome of the Immunotherapy treatment. According to researchers, this is the complicated part of using Immunotherapy to treat Mesothelioma. If the body is not able to respond properly due to the stage of the disease, the outcome will not be favorable. Even with this major challenge, the potential of using Immunotherapy to successfully treat Mesothelioma is favorable. These techniques allow targeted treatment options that are much less toxic than other, more traditional, treatment options for Mesothelioma.

New Chemo Drugs Have Some Promise For Treatment of Mesothelioma

Recent studies tested two different drugs to see if combining them with common Mesothelioma treatments will help with the long term outcome of the treatment plan. The first study, which took place at the Medical Center at the University of Texas, added bevacizumab to the typical cisplatin/pemetrexed  treatment of 52 patients who were unable to undergo surgery due to the stage of the Mesothelioma at the time of the study.

Over half of the study participants (56 percent) had a positive outcome of survival without complications after 6 months. However, the 33 percent overall improvement that researchers desired to see did not occur. Many test participants had serious toxicity complications including high blood pressure, decreased white blood cells, and blood clots. Thus, the overall consensus by this team of researchers was that the benefits did not outweigh the risk. This did not seem to be a great addition to treatment for most of the study participants.

The second study, which took place in Egypt, looked at a very small sample group of patients. These patients were given Methotrexate directly into the pleural space that surrounds the lungs. This drug was able to be administered in high quantities due to the fact that it was placed in the pleural space versus being used systemically. The outcome was positive, as the common toxicities associated with the drug were not present because of the method of administration.

Although this was a small study, where only 5 patients were tested, the outcome was positive. Each of the 5 patients received 3 cycles of Methotrexate, which was directly infused into the pleural cavity. Each time a new cycle was given, the amount and strength of the drug was increased. Methotrexate levels were measured daily in the blood serum and pleural cavity fluid.

The study showed that even at extremely high dosage levels, grade II toxicities were not found. This is attributed to the fact that the drug was infused directly into the pleural cavity. This method allowed the medication to target the Mesothelioma cells directly, in a much higher concentration than could be used systemically. In fact, the concentration used in this method was 95 to 3,000 times greater than systemic administration methods, with little to no toxicity complications.

Methotrexate is typically used to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and a variety of cancers (lung, uterine, breast, and some blood cancers). However, this small study seems to warrant a larger and more formal study that uses Methotrexate infusions into the pleural cavity to treat Mesothelioma.


Naturally Occuring Environmental Asbestos Linked To Higher Rates Of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the mesothelium in the body. Mesothelium is the double lining that surrounds almost all of the organs in the body. The mesothelium produces a fluid that sits between the layers to protect the organs.

Asbestos has been linked to Mesothelioma and several other cancers. Asbestos exposure increases the risks of developing these cancers. Most studies have been associated with people who have worked in or around Asbestos mines. Traditionally, Asbestos has also been used as a building material. Builders, contractors, and other people in these professions are at higher risk of having been exposed to Asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral that is found in many places all over the world. In recent studies done in the Dayao area in China, it was found that farmers and land developers who worked in areas where asbestos occurred naturally in the soil, and the soil was disturbed, rates of Mesothelioma and other Asbestos related cancers were significantly increased.

In areas where Asbestos was outcropped or disturbed due to digging, mortality rates were significantly increased due to Mesothelioma, lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, and intestinal cancer. All of these cancers are associated with Asbestos exposure.

In areas where Asbestos was present in the ground, but undisturbed, Chinese scientists found that the rates of these Asbestos related cancers were significantly decreased. The researchers concluded that exposure from naturally occurring Asbestos that has been disturbed significantly increases the likelihood of these cancers and increases mortality rates.

According to the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, there are many places throughout the United States that have naturally occurring Asbestos. These places include many Eastern states, most of California, and several locations throughout the Northwest. Naturally occurring Asbestos has also been found in road gravel in North Dakota, as well as many places in Alaska. Libby Montana, home of the Libby vermiculite mine, has been linked with a high number of Mesothelioma and other Asbestos related cancers.

Many people throughout the world are aware of the potential of Asbestos exposure from older buildings and other constructed sites. However, most people do not think about whether or not Asbestos is naturally occurring in the environment. Do some research regarding the dirt and soil in the neighborhood. Many companies offer Asbestos testing for buildings. Soil can usually be tested at the local University. Many home and garden centres can give consumers lists of places to have soil tested.

Mesothelioma – A Losing Battle In More Ways Than One

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that is believed to be caused by Asbestos exposure. This cancer forms in the mesothelium, which is the double lining that covers and protects most vital human organs. This lining forms a sac around the organs that holds a lubricating fluid. When malignant tumors form in the mesothelium, Mesothelioma is generally the diagnosis.

Even though scientists and researchers know that there is a strong link  between Asbestos exposure and Mesothelioma (one of the deadliest forms of cancer), government entities in Canada still refuse to shut down Asbestos mines. A similar battle is coming to head in Washington D.C., in the USA, as advocates try to get Asbestos banned and many fight against it.

The Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Cancer Society, researchers, health organizations and individuals have made a valiant effort to have the Asbestos mines in Canada, permanently shut down. However, the Asbestos mine has requested a$58 million dollar loan to reopen and continue removing and exporting Asbestos. The loan has been approved at the disdain of the organizations that know the health ramifications of Asbestos.

Canada admits that they do not typically use Asbestos anymore. Most of what is mined is exported to other countries. In fact, the Asbestos that is in buildings and homes in Canada is being removed. Even the Asbestos in the Prime Ministers house is being removed at this time. However, the profits from the export of the product seem to be worth the risk of mining it.

The Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Canada, will reopen with the money from this loan. The reopening of the mine will put 400 people back to work in this small town in Canada. The question remains; At what cost? It is estimated that the $58 million loan will keep the mine open for at least 20 years.

According to a United States Geological Survey, there has been a 34% increase of the consumption of Asbestos in the USA since 2011. Up to this point in time, the United States has not been willing to ban Asbestos even though Europe has banned it and the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended it be banned. The WHO has Asbestos listed as a serious carcinogen, and estimates that over 100,000 people die worldwide each year from Asbestos related cancers and complications. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 2,500 people die in America each year due to Asbestos exposure related cancers, such as Mesothelioma. Considering the facts, why are the United States and Canada having such a difficult time banning the mining and usage of Asbestos?


Bayer Gets Orphan Drug Approved For Treatment Of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat because it is extremely aggressive and metastasizes quickly. Thus far, there are have few treatments that increase quality of life or extend life very much once a diagnosis of Mesothelioma is made.

Recently, Bayer announced that the FDA approved its drug, BAY 94-9343, as an orphan drug for the treatment of Mesothelioma. This drug is an ADC, or Antibody-Drug Conjugate. This type of drug is also known as an immunotoxin or immunoconjugate. In the case of this particular drug, it targets the mesothelin compound, which is prevalent in Mesothelioma.

“Orphan drug” status is given to medications that are used to diagnose and/or treat rare diseases that are difficult to treat. In these cases, very few viable treatment options exist. In the case of Mesothelioma, it claims about 2,500 lives each year in the USA. It is considered one of the rarest forms of cancer and is extremely difficult to treat.

The purpose of “orphan drug” status is to help drugs like BAY 94-9343 get through the testing phase and into the hands of the people that so desperately need them. When these types of drugs are developed, the drug company usually receives tax credits that can be used for clinical trial expenses, so the drug can get into the market place quicker. In the case of orphan drugs like BAY 94-9343, the drug company gets exclusive rights to market the drug in the USA, and they are exempt from paying the FDA fees that go along with releasing most new drugs.

The purpose of these benefits and breaks is to get the drug on the market quicker, in hopes of saving lives that may not otherwise have a chance. Orphan drugs are used in the cases of rare and deadly diseases, and thus, must be tested and approved faster than drugs in other categories.

The testing for BAY 94-9343 began in September of 2011 at the Bayer drug company. It was tested for safety and effectiveness against solid tumors, including Mesothelioma tumors. Currently, this drug is being used to treat Mesothelioma patients at 3 different treatment centers in the United States of America. Clinical trials continue with the orphan drug BAY 94-9343, along with other drugs in the testing phase for treatment of Mesothelioma.

Doctors, patients, pharmacists, scientists, and drug manufacturers are hopeful that this drug and others like it will be effective in slowing and even stopping Mesothelioma and other solid tumor cancers. There is hope in the fight against Mesothelioma, and “orphan drug” status helps remove some of the red tape and get the drugs to the patients quickly.

An Overview Of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is one of the most scary diagnoses that a person can receive. This cancer, which is believed to be caused by asbestos exposure and inhalation, has one of the worst prognoses in the cancer arena. This type of cancer is extremely aggressive and it attacks and destroys the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the lining that covers the organs. In most cases, the mesothelium lines the organs in two layers and it provides a lubricating fluid between the two layers.

Since almost all organs are covered with mesothelium, the type of cancer that allows tumors to grow on this lining is extremely aggressive and dangerous. Mesothelioma can spread and metastasize quickly and it can move into the organs very quickly.

In most cases, Mesothelioma presents in the pleural lining of the lungs or the peritoneal lining of the intestines. It can be hard to detect, confirm, and diagnose because of the location of the tumors. In many cases, invasive diagnostic tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Mesothelioma is usually diagnosed with CT, PET, or MRI scans. In order to detect the tumors, radioactive dyes are used to pinpoint the tumors. Exposing the body to radiation or radioactive dyes is not ideal when dealing with aggressive cancer that spreads quickly. In some cases, ultrasound can be used to help diagnose Mesothelioma.

Treatments for Mesothelioma attempt to stave off the aggressive spreading of the disease. Treatment options can include surgery (pneumonectomy), brachytherapy, radiation, chemotherapy, Pleurodesis, and Angiogenesis.

There are new and less aggressive treatment alternatives. However, they have not all been completely tested and proven yet. Many treatment alternatives are still in trial phases. Some people with diagnosed Mesothelioma may be eligible to receive some of these alternative treatments under specific “research study” guidelines.

Most doctors use one of three different types of systems to “stage” Mesothelioma. In some cases, a combination of these systems may be used to determine the “stage” of the disease.

The oldest type of staging system is called the Butchart system. This system bases the stage of cancer on the mass of the primary tumor. There are four different stages with this system.

The next system developed following the Butchart system is called TNM. This system takes into consideration both spread and mass of the tumors. It also takes into consideration the involvement of the lymph nodes and the rate in which the tumors metastasize.

The latest staging system is called Brigham. This system rates the stages of Mesothelioma on the ability to have it surgically removed, which is known as resectability. It also takes into consideration the involvement of the lymph nodes.

Receiving a diagnosis of Mesothelioma can be extremely scary and overwhelming. Modern medicine has made great strides in treating this type of cancer. There is hope for people with Mesothelioma.

Can Ultrasound Really Help Doctors With Mesothelioma Patients?

Ultrasound is used in hospitals and clinics all the time to help doctors see inside the body. OB/GYN’s use ultrasound to check up on baby during pregnancy. Cardiologists use the same ultrasound technology to locate blood clots. Ultrasound has even been used to assist doctors and nurses with invasive and surgical procedures. Is it possible that this technology could also be used by Oncologists to help manage and treat Mesothelioma?

An Oncologist in Indonesia believes that ultrasound technology can be used to diagnose and assist with the treatment Mesothelioma. It can be used in place of more invasive diagnostic tests that require radiology. In many cases, pleural Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose due to the location (the pleural membrane that surrounds the lungs) and the aggressiveness of the cancer. Often times MRI, PET or CT scans are used to diagnose this disease. It is necessary to inject a radioactive contrast into the body to see the cancer. When using ultrasound, radioactive contrast is not needed. Sound waves alone allow the doctors to see the lungs. This is of benefit to the patient, as it doesn’t subject them to unnecessary radiation.

This Indonesian doctor makes the argument that ultrasound is much less invasive, has little to no complications, and is much less expensive. The other benefits to ultrasound are that the unit is portable and it does not require a hospital or clinic for its use.

Dr. C.M. Rumende, with the University of Indonesia Medical Center, has used ultrasound to look at the lungs of people with Mesothelioma. Ultrasound can help clinicians spot abnormalities on the lungs that are common to people with this extremely aggressive form of cancer. Some such abnormalities that can be spotted with ultrasound include pleural effusion (fluid build-up around the lungs), pleural fibrosis, tumor metastasis, peripheral lung tumors, and Mesothelioma (pleural tumors). The benefit to using ultrasound to assist with diagnosis is that it is non-invasive and it can give doctors much more solid evidence of Mesothelioma at earlier onset of the disease.

Ultrasound is also a great tool for complicated surgeries related to Mesothelioma. It can be used as a guide to remove fluid in and around the lungs. It can also be used during tumor biopsies and to place a chest tube. Ultrasound also allows extreme precision during surgery, which increases the chances of a more successful surgery and recovery. In turn, this ends up decreasing the risks of complications related to the surgery.

In many cases, ultrasound is a great tool for assisting physicians with diagnosis and treatment of Mesothelioma. However, as with everything, it does have some limitations. According to Dr. Rumende, ultrasound has not been very useful in spotting problems inside the central area of the thoracic cavity, known as the mediastinum. As technology improves, this may change and the limitations of ultrasound may become less and less.