The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) has awarded a research grant to designed to identify biomarkers that will help pinpoint which pleural mesothelioma patients would respond better to combined chemotherapy and immunotherapy before they undergo therapy in order to prevent unnecessary toxicities and waste of precious treatment time.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma, a rare but deadly cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs and can take up to 50 years to develop. Once diagnosed, the prognosis is generally poor with most patients dying within 12 to 24 months. Finding more effective treatments can help prolong life.
The study, conducted by medical oncologist and researcher Anna Nowak, M.D., Ph.D., with the University of Western Australia, is an extension of the DREAM trial. That phase 2 clinical trial treated 54 patients with a combination of Alimta/cisplatin (a standard chemotherapy for mesothelioma that has a roughly 40 percent success rate) and Durvalumab (a PD-L1 inhibitor that has a 20 percent success rate).
In that study, more than half of the participants saw their tumors shrink and two thirds had their tumors controlled for at least six months following the drug combination, “which is better than we would expect with chemotherapy alone,” Dr. Nowak said. “But not everyone responds to this treatment.”
Dr. Nowak wants to know why. The Meso Foundation grant will seek to identify biomarkers to help differentiate responders from non-responders before they undergo treatment. “By understanding why treatment doesn’t work for some people, we may be able to develop some insights into how to improve the response treatment,” she said.
Source: Meso Foundation