Treatment Options - Gene Therapy for Mesothelioma

Gene Therapy for Mesothelioma

Gene therapy is an exciting new treatment that has given hope to many victims of mesothelioma.

1. How does gene therapy for mesothelioma work?
By accessing the genetic code that predisposes some cells to become cancerous when exposed to asbestos, gene therapy attempts to understand why proteins within cells cause them to be resilient to cancer, while others do not.

2. What does this mean for cells affected by mesothelioma?
It was once thought that genes were complete upon birth, and could not affect conditions afflicted during life, but this turns out not to be the case. Smoking, sunlight, and certain foods can all affect our DNA and cause changes in our genetic code. New insight provided by these conditions caused doctors to view many conditions like malignant mesothelioma in a new light.

3. How can gene therapy help mesothelioma victims?
Mesothelioma is a multifactorial disease, which means several variables contribute to its success. Asbestos exposure is the primary contributing factor, but also inherited genetic mutations in individuals exacerbate it. New developments allow doctors to circumvent genetic predisposition to cancer by using special treatments. Gene therapy represents a revolution in mesothelioma treatment by replacing cancer-causing genes with genes medically engineered to die when exposed to cancerous growths.

4. What do these genes actually do?
These so-called “suicide genes” are a possible way to stop the rapid replication of cancerous cells. Studies have also begun to experiment with replacing cancer generating genes with genes susceptible to certain drugs, from which cancer can be potentially eradicated with few residual side effects. Essentially, mesothelioma patients are infected with a kind of “healthy virus” that attacks “bad cells” and changes their genetic structure.  The two main types of gene therapy for mesothelioma include:

  • Knockout gene therapy:  This gene therapy helps fight mesothelioma by assaulting the genes that cause tumors to form and prevent them from forming.
  • Replacement gene therapy:  This mesothelioma gene therapy replaces a damaged or missing gene with a normal gene that regulates cell growth and division.  The genes replaced are usually one that suppresses tumor growth in other circumstances.

5. What is the future for victims of mesothelioma that need gene therapy?
Gene therapy is still in its infancy, and is by no means completely safe, but clinical trials of new treatments are not without inherent risks. The desperate situation caused by the lethality of mesothelioma often persuades many to participate in various experimental treatments, for any hope of survival outweighs many of the dangers involved.

You may be entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering if you developed mesothelioma as a consequence of your exposure to asbestos.  Our compassionate and dedicated mesothelioma lawyers are standing by to listen to your case, and have the experience necessary to fight for your rights.  Do not hesitate, for the statute of limitations in your state restricts the amount of time you have to take action.  Contact us today.


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Gene Therapy for Mesothelioma and Treatment Options Mesothelioma page updated on1/11/2012