There are several experimental treatments for Mesothelioma that are currently being evaluated and these include:
Alimta Alimta (pemetrexed) is a relatively new Chemotherapy drug that has been developed to treat Pleural Mesothelioma. One of the largest clinical trials was completed recently and presented in 2002 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists. Results from this clinical trial showed that Alimta was the first treatment to significantly increase the length of survival and relieve symptoms of Mesothelioma.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) involves administering photosensitive drugs directly into the Mesothelial cells. Afterwards, doctors will then use a laser light to activate the photosensitive drugs so that the destruction of the surrounding cancer cells can be carried out.
PDT has not known success in improving the survival rates for patients with Mesothelioma.
Gene Therapy can be used to correct disease at the DNA level by compensating for abnormal genes. There are several types of gene therapy that are being studied for treatment of Mesothelioma. This treatment has proven successful in animal studies, however, the results in humans has been disappointing.
Immunotherapy is being pursued to improve the immune system's ability to fight cancer. The immune system (as shown by studies) distinguishes healthy cells from cancer cells in order to eliminate cancerous cells.
Immunotherapy makes use of biological response modifiers (BRMs) to improve the body's ability in fighting disease. BRMs currently used include interferons, interleukins, monoclonal antibodies, tumor necrosis factors and cancer vaccines. The first step is the removal of healthy cells, which are then exposed to cytokines and antibodies. These enhanced cells are then put back into the Peritoneum, where they then enhance the body's ability to fight cancer.
Initial studies have shown significant reduction of the Mesothelioma tumors at very early stages of the disease. However, much more research is needed to determine its effectiveness as a treatment for malignant Mesothelioma.
Multimodality Therapy is a type of therapy that means the use of any combination of surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy to treat Mesothelioma. The combination of intercavitary radiation or chemotherapy before and after, to eliminate Mesothelioma.