This is another in a series of blogs on new treatments for mesothelioma. This deadly cancer can manifest itself in the lining of the lung (pleura), as well as in the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum). Mesothelioma is generally found to be caused by exposure to asbestos, often in occupational settings. We have previously written about new, first line treatments for mesothelioma with immunotherapy agents Opdivo and Yurvoy. These treatments may offer new hope for patients with this devastating diagnosis. Nonetheless, mesothelioma remains a cancer with limited treatment options.
One option attracting recent attention is Tumor Treating Fields or TTFields. This option uses low-intensity electrical current to stop cancer cells from dividing. Mesothelioma cells have been found to be significantly affected by TTFields. The electrical current is delivered through the use of a wearable medical device which administers the charge from an electrical field generator connected to a ceramic unit placed on the patient’s chest. Patients are encouraged to wear the device 15-18 hours per day while continuing their chemotherapy regime. The hope is that the electrical current will disrupt cell division, encourage the death of the cancer cells and slow the growth of the cancer. The treatment is non-invasive, with few side effects. However, moderate skin-related toxicity has been reported.
This treatment, in use since receiving FDA approval in 2019 can be delivered through a device called Optune Lua ™, and is used in conjunction with traditional chemotherapy agents. Optune Lua ™ is manufactured by the global oncology company, Novacure. The device is used to treat locally advanced mesothelioma where other treatments have not been possible. This technology has also been used to treat glioblastoma multiform in some patients.
The results have been encouraging. Generally, the median survival rate for mesothelioma patients is approximately 12 months. With treatment using Optune Lua ™, 62% of patients survived 1 year and 42% survived for two years. Results so far demonstrate a significant extension of survival, particularly in patients that cannot be treated surgically for their mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma, getting the latest in treatment information can be life-changing. Compensation may also be available for victims of mesothelioma. Call us today for more information.