Media coverage in 2020 surrounded a particular virus and the progress made in defeating it. Similarly, new treatments, drug regimens, and cutting-edge and highly successful trials gave a glimmer of hope to those suffering from mesothelioma, not to mention their family members.
Some of the more prominent stories included:
The FDA approves Keytruda
Pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy drug, was approved in June for certain metastatic tumors. A select number of those patients suffered from pleural mesothelioma. Earlier trials of Keytruda (the formal brand name) revealed promising results in its effectiveness with a handful of patients. While doctors do not refer to it as a cure, success in the trial does represent a step forward and provides patients a chance, however small, in the continuing fight against this deadly form of cancer.
Italy’s asbestos ban starts to show results
Unlike the United States, Italy took steps to formally ban asbestos nearly thirty years ago. Medical experts are seeing a peak in the health crisis that spurred the stoppage. However, evidence of a prohibition’s effectiveness remains scant. The medical industry must continue pursuing a cure, as formal diagnoses of mesothelioma still take up to 50 years. Proactive measures are paramount due to the disease’s sinister slowness in showing itself.
Approval of immunotherapy
It may have taken 16 years, but in October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug treatment regimen in the fight against malignant pleural mesothelioma cancer. Findings from an international phase III clinical trial saw increased survival rates from nine months with chemotherapy to slightly over 18 months with immunotherapy combinations.
A cure remains elusive. The battle continues. Hopefully, 2021 shows promise and provides more hope.