Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that’s mainly caused by an exposure to asbestos. Currently, there is no known cure for the disease but there a number of traditional treatments used to help improve patient’s quality of life. According to Mesothelioma Cancer Association, there are also several experimental treatments that are currently being studied.
1. Gene therapy: There are many studies of gene therapy currently being tested in animal models. So far, animal experiments using gene therapies have shown great promise, however, this has yet to be transitioned to human studies. Other gene therapies that are either being used on their own or alongside chemotherapy drugs include Onconase, lovastatin, and thalidomide, the results of which have been mixed so far.
2. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is using the immune system of the patient to combat the cancer and works in two different ways. It either forces the immune system to seek out and kill the mesothelioma cells, or synthetic proteins can be introduced to help the immune system fight the disease by better recognizing and attacking the cancer cells.
Four different kinds of immunotherapy are already being used for treating cancer: immune checkpoint inhibitors, cancer vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and non-specific immunotherapies. Pembrolizumab is currently showing promise as a treatment for mesothelioma in clinical trials.