The years 2020 and 2021 seem to have been totally consumed by the covid-19 pandemic. So much so, it has pushed into the rearview mirror other serious chronic and lethal diseases. However, in the background of these two years, there have been a number of medical breakthroughs in respect of mesothelioma treatment. This article will discuss one major breakthrough in mesothelioma treatments for 2020.
The COVID-19 virus is known to kill individuals who have compromised immune systems. It is sad to say that persons suffering from mesothelioma, with an already compromised lining of the lungs, fall under vulnerable individuals. Statistics show that there are 3,000 new mesothelioma cases in the United States every year. And it is estimated that about 20 million people are still at risk as a result of previous asbestos exposure. The general outlook of having mesothelioma cancer is bleak, however, 2020 mesothelioma treatments and clinical trials saw new medical advancements for the disease.
Advancements in Mesothelioma 2020/21
According to the Oncology Times, “the FDA approved nivolumab combined with ipilimumab as a first-line treatment for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma”. ‘This is specific for patients who cannot undergo surgical removal of the tumor’. This is a major breakthrough because there has not been a drug regimen treatment in the past 16 years for mesothelioma patients.
Nivolumab and ipilimumab increase T-cell function and thus reduce tumor development when administered together. The drugs were tested on 605 patients with untreated resectable malignant pleural mesothelioma. The results were that it increased the patient’s median survival rate from 14.1 months with the use of chemotherapy to 19.1 months using the drugs. Unfortunately, the drugs are not available for patients who have cancer that returned after previous treatment. However, it is definitely a win for mesothelioma treatment, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is sad to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for more studies and clinical trials to be carried out. However, there are a number of promising new advancements in respect of immunotherapy are on the horizon.