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New Cancer Fighting Drug Available to Mesothelioma Patients

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A new cancer fighting drug is available to newly-diagnosed mesothelioma patients as part of a clinical trial at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Parkash Gill, an oncologist who supervises the mesothelioma laboratory at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, announced this month that the cancer fighting drug EPH-B4 is available to qualifying patients who have not undergone any conventional treatment and to patients who have exhausted other treatment options such as chemotherapy and surgery.

Due to the role that the EphB4 protein plays in the transition of benign tumors into a malignant state, Gill has focused much of his research on developing EphB4-specific antibodies that have been shown to significantly interfere with blood vessel formation and reduce the size of tumors in animal experiments.

Gill said the drug has shown great promise as a solo treatment and in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs such as Alimta, Cisplatin and Carboplatin. It has been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a phase I clinical trial.

Gill and a team of researchers reported in the American Journal of Pathology that that drug inhibited the development of malignant tumors by interfering with the sprouting of new bloods vessels from existing vessels.

The Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America, which is supporting Gill’s research, provides funding to find a cure for mesothelioma.

Doctors diagnose approximately 2,500 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma in the United States each year. Most mesothelioma sufferers are older workers, retired workers and veterans who inhaled  cancer-causing asbestos fibers in workplaces decades ago. Asbestos can trigger respiratory problems and growth of cancerous tumors 20 to 50 years after breathing or swallowing the microscopic fibers.

To contact Dr. Gill about the clinical trial, click here.

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