There are many reasons this spring for victims of mesothelioma and their families to be optimistic regarding progress towards a cure. There have been several research articles that have been published that have identified sub groups of mesothelioma, and different interventions that have worked on certain subgroups of patients.
There is no magic pill or one-size-fits-all approach to finding a cure for this complicated disease. Progress is being made. There is excitement among the scientists that they are chipping away on many fronts. Immunotherapy, chemotherapy, identification of the type of mesothelioma, and combinations of therapies are all actively being explored.
Some of the exciting findings that have been published are:
- Identification of four distinct molecular subtypes of mesothelioma: sarcomatoid, epithelioid, biphasic-epithelioid (biphasic-E) and biphasic-sarcomatoid (biphasic-E).
- Identification of recurrent gene mutations in several genes.
- That recurrent gene fusion and splice alterations to be frequent mechanisms for inactivation of three genes in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
The above were published in Nature Genetics, February 2016, authored by Raphael Bueno et. al.
What does all this mean to a patient with mesothelioma today? In today’s world, and in the future of personalized therapy, understanding what drives malignant pleural mesothelioma on the genetic level is essential. With this information the diagnosis and prognosis can be more accurately personalized. At some point in the future, therapy will be tailored to the patient’s individual tumor type. Drug therapy can then be tried to interfere with the pathways.
None of this progress would be possible without participation in clinical trials. There is no magic bullet for mesothelioma that will cure it overnight. With this research we are further down the path of personalized mesothelioma care with the expectation that lives will be prolonged and a cure will be in the future.
Just as spring is a season of new growth, opportunities, and new beginnings, this research brings new hope to victims and their families of mesothelioma.