New hope for mesothelioma sufferers in clinical trial

New hope for mesothelioma sufferers in clinical trial

A new clinical trial in America is testing immunotherapy/antiangiogenic drug combination as a treatment for pleural mesothelioma and early indications in a clinical trial have been positive.

The trial combines nivolumab (Opdivo), an immunotherapy drug, with ramucirumab (Cyramza), blocking the formation of blood vessels required for new tumour growth.

According to, the Food and Drug Administration approved both drugs for the treatment of other cancers, but this clinical trial is the first to test them in combination for mesothelioma.

“Any assessment of outcomes at this point would be preliminary,” medical oncologist Dr Alberto Chiappori, the lead investigator at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. “But we have not seen any reason not to be encouraged. There is everything to assume we can expect a positive outcome.”

The trial is aimed at patients who have tumours unable to be resected, and post-chemotherapy.

The Moffitt Cancer Center is just one of four institutions hosting the trial. The others include Regions Hospital Cancer Center in St. Paul, Minnesota; Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit; and the University of Maryland Cancer Center in Baltimore.

“I cannot provide details yet, but I can say that patients are doing well, and this encourages us to offer this study to other patients,” said medical oncologist Dr Arek Dudek at Regions Hospital. “The study is doing well.”

Dudek said earlier he believed the combination could eventually replace chemotherapy as the standard option for treating pleural mesothelioma.

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