Treatment For Mesothelioma

John Han-Chih Chang, MD and Kenneth Blank, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Question:

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
Would you please send me some information on clinical trials or new found treatments for mesothelioma.
Sincerely,
VI

Answer:

Kenneth Blank, MD and John Han-Chih Chang, MD, Editorial Assistants for Oncolink, respond:

Dear VI:
Thank you for your question.

Mesothelioma is a tumor that arises on the pleura (the lining of the lungs). Unfortunately, conventional treatment with surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy have been largely unsuccessful at curing this cancer. However, there are many experimental research protocols looking at the efficacy of new forms of treatment. Two of the more promising experimental approaches include gene therapy and photodynamic therapy.

Gene therapy involves injecting a modified virus directly into a patient's chest cavity and treating the patient with an anti-viral drug that has proven effective at killing cancer cells. Photodynamic therapy utilizes an intravenous photosensitizing drug that is taken up by the cancer cells. The photosensitizer is then activated by a specific wavelength of laser light applied to the pleura to fatally damage the cancer cell.

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