Clinical Trials Immunotherapy

Posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2016 at 1:48 pm    

Clinical Trials Immunotherapy

Starting from April 2015 there have been 250 recorded clinical trials conducted by researchers. Of the 250 clinical trials 166 were being conducted in the U. S. This article will discuss the topic Clinical Trials  Immunotherapy. The focus is on what immunotherapy is, how it works and the hope for the future.

Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment available to mesothelioma patients only through clinical trials. The immunotherapy studies on mesothelioma were first carried out in the 1980s and research is still ongoing. Immunotherapy coupled with anti-cancer treatments (like chemotherapy and/or radiation) can improve survival rates and reduce symptoms in mesothelioma patients. In simple terms immunotherapy works by enhancing the immune system’s response to the mesothelioma cancer. Therefore, immunotherapy does not cure mesothelioma.

Clinical Trials Immunotherapy: How it works

Simply put the immune system protects the body from viruses, bacteria and the development of diseases, it also removes damaged and/or dead cells. For the immune system to do this it identifies the causes of the illnesses and prompts a response (i.e. an immune response). There are two main types of immune responses:

  • Passive this is the primary defense system in the body which we have had since birth
  • Active this response develops over time to recognize viruses and bacteria and/or diseases

Active immunotherapy

For immunotherapy the main focus is the active immune response mechanism. Active immunotherapy tries to cause the immune system to react by presenting antigens in a way that forces/triggers an immune response. (Antigens are compounds on the surface of diseased cells that stimulate an immune response.)

For the immune system to give an immune response for mesothelioma tumors the antigens must:

  • be detected on the surface of the tumors
  • enter the lymph nodes to be identified and prompt a response

This is especially necessary as tumor surfaces are not different from their surroundings. Further, mesothelioma tumors grow considerably before spreading to the lymph nodes where the immune system identifies the tumor antigen.

Clinical Trials Immunotherapy: Tumor Antigens

Clinical Trials - Immunotherapy

Clinical Trials – Immunotherapy

One valuable mesothelioma tumor antigen is mesothelin. In order to test the mesothelin effectiveness as an agent for immunotherapy, researchers developed a protein (SS1P) and linked it to a toxin secreted by a bacteria known as Pseudomonas. This was tested on mice and was found to be effective, thereafter, Phase I clinical trials began. Twenty-one mesothelioma patients were tested and four had partial responses while nineteen experienced disease stabilization. Phase I clinical trials are still ongoing.

In future, doctors hope to use immunotherapy as part of a combined treatment plan to better manage mesothelioma.

Contact Us Get In Touch

"*" indicates required fields