Published on July 21, 2022
While chemotherapy drugs are extremely effective in the treatment of many cancers, some malignancies characterized by solid tumors — including malignant mesothelioma — have proven resistant to the drugs’ effects. But according to new research, a combination of several drugs generally used to treat other serious conditions may offer hope to those afflicted with these deadly diseases.
South Carolina Researchers’ Findings Give Hope to Mesothelioma Patients
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. The disease has an extremely long latency, making itself known when advanced solid tumors in the pleural or peritoneal cavity become large enough to cause symptoms.
The type of solid tumors that afflict mesothelioma patients are the target of a group of researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina’s Hollings Cancer Center. The group has reported promising preclinical results from a study exploring the impact of combining existing drugs to treat drug resistant cancers.
Drugs Used for Other Conditions Offer Significant Advantages
With support from the National Cancer Institute, the researchers are looking into repurposing drugs that have already been approved for use in other conditions. Though not developed to treat mesothelioma or other cancers, they have the advantage of already having been safety tested, where new cancer drugs often prove to be too toxic to be safe. The researchers will test various combinations of hydroxychloroquine, nelfinavir, metformin, dasatinib, and sirolimus – drugs traditionally used to treat malaria, HIV, Type 2 diabetes, and other illnesses.
Though the researchers say that their early results indicate the novel use of these drugs would be particularly helpful in treating ovarian and prostate cancers, their phase 1 trial will accept patients with advanced solid tumors of all types, including malignant mesothelioma. The target of the drugs is a cellular recycling process called autophagy.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, every new research study offers hope. For information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.
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Written by Terri Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.
Learn more about and contact Terri