Researchers are searching for a mesothelioma cure that could save thousands of lives every year. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for mesothelioma, a disease most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. Some medical experts believe that immunotherapy, an effective treatment for other kinds of malignant disease, could cure mesothelioma.1 Others believe gene therapy and personalized medicine will lead the way.2
Can Mesothelioma Be Cured?
Standard treatments for mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. These treatments can extend an individual’s survival and are more likely to do so when used in combination. However, as of yet, these treatments cannot cure mesothelioma. Factors that affect survival include mesothelioma stage and grade as well as an individual’s overall health status.
Although mesothelioma cannot be cured, it can, to a certain extent, be prevented. Preventing exposure to asbestos is the best way to prevent mesothelioma. Unfortunately, once an individual is exposed to asbestos, there is no known way to prevent the disease from developing.
Research: Finding a Cure
No cure has been discovered yet, but researchers have made significant advancements in understanding and treating mesothelioma, particularly malignant pleural mesothelioma. This kind of mesothelioma makes up 80 to 90% of all mesothelioma cases.
Some of the most promising experimental treatments for malignant pleural mesothelioma include
- Immunotherapy: a treatment that stimulates the immune system to target and kill cancer cells without killing healthy cells.
- Tumor treating fields: a treatment that uses specific electrical frequencies to prevent cancer spread and kill cancer cells.
- Photodynamic therapy: a treatment that uses light energy in conjunction with a photosensitizing drug to kill cancer cells.
- New multimodal therapy: a new combination of current mesothelioma treatments.
- Gene therapy and personalized medicine: an approach that tailors an individual’s treatment to their unique genetic variation.
- Graded treatment: a strategy of choosing a treatment based on its effectiveness in treating other cancers with similar microscopic features.
Advancements from Clinical Trials
Significant progress in understanding and treating mesothelioma has been made thanks to mesothelioma clinical trials. Such studies are critical in enhancing current mesothelioma treatments and developing new ones. With more research, these trials may one day find a cure for mesothelioma.