Clinical trial uses immunotherapy to treat mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, is fatal in most cases. The majority of patients will die within a year and a half of diagnosis. The Mesothelioma Treatment Center at the Baylor College of Medicine Lung Institute is testing a new treatment that combines immunotherapy with a new drug that accelerates cell death. Researchers are now enrolling patients in a clinical trial.

Roughly 3,000 people are affected by malignant pleural mesothelioma in the U.S. each year, mostly due to inhalation of asbestos fibers. The cancer is typically treated with a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, but according to Dr. Bryan Burt, principal investigator of this study and associate professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, in many patients, the disease is too advanced, and the conventional treatment is largely ineffective.

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