New Mesothelioma Treatment Approved: Here’s What To Know About It

A new mesothelioma treatment is here and you might want to have it on your radar. Here's what you need to know about how it works

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September 15, 2019
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Cancer has long been an illness that has plagued us. It is insidious and many have fallen victim to it. And much like what we’re programmed to do, we constantly strive to find ways to mitigate the effects and to ultimately treat all sorts of illnesses. There are many kinds of cancer and they all develop in different ways. It also follows that the treatments for these illnesses also vary.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that aggressively affects the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen. What makes it so dangerous is that it can be acquired through asbestos poisoning. What’s even more distressing is the fact that the life expectancy of a patient who is diagnosed with mesothelioma is about 12 months.

Asbestos and many other toxic materials, can be found in a wide variety of home construction materials, particularly in drywall. It has gotten so bad that manufacturers that do not maintain safety standards in relation to asbestos will be held legally liable for causing a person to fall ill because of a contractor’s negligence. There are even lawyers, like the ones at www.bergmanlegal.com, who specialize in these types of cases.

What Is This New Treatment?

This treatment involves the use of an electric current in order to hinder the development of cancer cells. The device used to achieve this effect comes in the form of the NovoTTF-100L from Novocure. This is indeed good news, especially since mesothelioma is a poorly understood cancer ad we have yet to find more effective ways of managing it before we can even think about being able to develop a cure.

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How Does It Work?

Through the use of low-intensity electric fields, the NovoTTF-100L is able to interfere with the mitosis of cancer cells, thereby effectively preventing the cancer cells from spreading throughout the affected organ. The device is intended for extensive home use for mesothelioma patients and acts as a way for patients to actively combat cancer without the need to visit their clinic ever so often, as is the case with chemotherapy.

But, We Need To Be Clear On A Few Things

While it may sound like the new device is a solution for mesothelioma, it’s important to make the distinction between a treatment and a cure. The device not the latter. But despite this, the fact that the data collected from these studies help us find better ways to treat this type of cancer, and the fact that experts have found a way to stifle the development of cancer cells is an important discovery on its own, especially when over 97% of patients who were tested exhibited one of two results:

One is a partial response, which is a 50% reduction in measurable tumor, but the cancer remains.

The other being a stable disease wherein the tumor does not increase in size more than 50%, nor does it decrease in size more than 30%.

An added benefit with using this new device is that it helps improve a patient’s survivability without exposing the patients to radiation from traditional cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy.

Does The Treatment Have Any Side effects?

Much like any new piece of tech, there are bound to be a few things to improve on. Patients who have received treatment via the NovoTTF-100L have reported no side effects other than skin irritation. This side effect was observed in 46% of respondents and only 4% percent of those who experienced skin irritation reported to have suffered 3rd grade skin irritation.

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This was to be expected, especially when you consider the fact that you’re trying to use electricity to disrupt the development of cancer cells.

Effectivity

As previously mentioned, the treatment is able to prevent a tumor from further developing and in some cases it even decreases the size of a tumor. Patients who received this form of treatment survived an average of 21 months, which is amazing considering the fact that the average life expectancy for a patient diagnosed with mesothelioma is 12 months.

While this is far from a cure for cancer, it is a step in the right direction — and a big step at that — when the last new mesothelioma treatment was approved 15 years ago. Naturally, this is a big milestone for Novocare.

Conclusion

In any case, the treatment should not be misconstrued as a cure for cancer, but it is, however, a step in the right direction. And it would be wrong if we said that people shouldn’t get their hopes up. While it’s unclear when we’ll finally be able to find a cure for cancer, one thing is clear. We’re constantly moving forward and given enough time, we’ll get there eventually.