Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma

Immunotherapy is very similar to gene therapy, in that they both rely on biological mechanisms to do their work. The key difference between them is that while gene therapy introduces new chemicals into the body to destroy the cancer, immunotherapy concentrates on boosting the immune system to fight off the cancer. The overriding problem with cancers like mesothelioma is they have deceived the body into thinking that they are normal cells, and because of this the immune system will not fight them off. Doctors are learning how to force the body to recognize these bad cells and deal with them accordingly.

1. What does immunotherapy for mesothelioma do?
The chemicals that doctors use to provoke the immune system response are known as biological response modifiers, or BRMs. These chemicals realign the immune system to recognize mesothelioma cells as bad and begin to attack them. The body produces many BRMS, but in the case of cancers with prolonged malignancy like mesothelioma, scientists replicate and enhance the natural defense of the body to make it easier to kill off the cancer.

2. How does immunotherapy for mesothelioma work?
By stimulating the immune system, immunotherapy can prevent the cancer from spreading into other tissue systems, and regulate and suppress the body’s ability to grow new cancer. Hopefully, as research progresses it will be found that immunotherapy can even reverse the ability of cancerous cells to make other cells cancerous, and perhaps without significant side effects.

3. What kinds of immunotherapy for mesothelioma exist?
There are a number of different immunotherapies for mesothelioma.  They include:

  • Interferon: one of the original immunotherapies, Interferon stops the growth of cancer cells and boosts the immune systems to fight the disease.
  • Antiangiogenics: These drugs inhibit the growth of blood vessels that supply tumors with the blood they need to survive.
  • Monoclonal antibodies:  These proteins seek out and kill foreign bodies, and can be programmed to discern abnormal proteins that exist on the exterior of cancer cells.
  • Interleukin2: This bodily protein is naturally part of the immune system, and is used to enhance normal processes.

4. What is the future of immunotherapy for mesothelioma?
Immunotherapy is still however in its infancy. There is no guarantee of success, though it has been effective in some animal tests. Problems exist because of the nature of mesothelioma. Some immunotherapies require samples of the tumor to understand what kinds of antibodies it contains. Unfortunately, because mesothelioma is such a complicated cancer, there are sometimes not enough distinguishable antibodies within the tumor to make a custom designed drug. This is potentially catastrophic for the patient if the doctor attempts treatment, for the drug could actually kill their healthy cells because it lacks the sophistication to distinguish healthy tissue from malignant tissue.

Let our knowledgeable and experienced mesothelioma attorneys help you get the compensation you may deserve.  We are ready to fight for you and your rights.  Contact us today.


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Treatment Options Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma page updated on 1/11/2012