New Class of Drugs Offers Hope for Mesothelioma Victims

body with lungs

A particular class of drugs has recently been found in clinical trials to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments for mesothelioma. The discovery offers potential hope for cancer victims.

Pleural, Peritoneal, Pericardial, and other forms of mesothelioma have affected hundreds of thousands of individuals all across the world. Years ago, employees working in a wide variety of industries became exposed to harmful asbestos and developed malignant tumors as a result.

Since the hazards of asbestos were first discovered in the early 1900s, researchers, scientists, and doctors have fought diligently to find treatment options for mesothelioma victims.

One particular classification of drugs has recently been found in clinical trials to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments. The specifics of the drugs and how they work were published in Science Translational Medicine, a reputable medical journal.

The revelation offers good news for mesothelioma sufferers and their families.

FAK inhibitors

The category of drugs is known as FAK, focal adhesion kinase, inhibitors. The drugs were developed by Verastem, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that researches and cultivates drugs and treatment options for cancer stem cells.

In a recent clinical trial, scientists at Verastem discovered that mesothelioma patients responded better to chemotherapy treatments, like pemetrexed and cisplatin, after taking certain FAK inhibitors. (Specifically FAK inhibitors VS-6063 and VS-4718.)

Essentially, these inhibitors make chemotherapy treatments work better. With the drugs, the cancer cells are much more vulnerable to annihilation.

Compound benefits of FAK inhibitors

But, according to one Verastem researcher, FAK inhibitors play a much larger part than just aiding in the attack of mesothelioma cancer cells. The drugs also target merlin-negative cancer stem cells (cancer cells known as CSCs that essentially resurrect after patients are done taking chemotherapy). Many mesothelioma patients do not have merlin, a vital component to fighting the CSCs that pop up later.

Dr. Jonathan Pachter, lead researcher at Verastem, says that FAK inhibitor drugs, like VS-6063, after first-line chemotherapy could just be the right treatment that extends the fight against this aggressive and malignant cancer.

It remains to be seen what the discovery truly means for mesothelioma sufferers. Verastem, however, states that the revelation will likely lead to continued trials and studies on FAK inhibitors, particularly for patients suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma, a type of mesothelioma where tumors form and metastasize along the pleura membrane near the lungs.

Help for victims and their families

While the fight to find treatment options-and possibly a cure-for mesothelioma continues, legal recourse is available for victims and their families. Speaking with an attorney knowledgeable with asbestos liability litigation is the first step. A lawyer can offer specific legal avenues available that pertain to individual circumstances.