New Drug Found to Slow Cancer Progression for Some Mesothelioma Patients

Treatment & Doctors
Reading Time: 3 mins
Publication Date: 12/13/2012
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us

Testimonials

"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Lashawn
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article

APA

Persaud, N. (2020, October 16). New Drug Found to Slow Cancer Progression for Some Mesothelioma Patients. Asbestos.com. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2012/12/13/drug-slows-cancer-progression/

MLA

Persaud, Nadia. "New Drug Found to Slow Cancer Progression for Some Mesothelioma Patients." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2012/12/13/drug-slows-cancer-progression/.

Chicago

Persaud, Nadia. "New Drug Found to Slow Cancer Progression for Some Mesothelioma Patients." Asbestos.com. Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2012/12/13/drug-slows-cancer-progression/.

Here’s some good news for the mesothelioma community: A recent clinical study in Paris found that a new drug could potentially help prevent the spread of mesothelioma for patients lacking a gene called Neurofibromin 2.

Here’s how it works. Neurofibromin 2, also known as NF2, is a tumor suppressor gene in the body that prevents healthy cells from turning cancerous. NF2 produces a protein called merlin, which controls communication between cells and prevents them from growing in an uncontrolled manner. It is pretty common for mesothelioma patients, as well as patients with melanoma and cervical cancer, to lack both NF2 and merlin.

So what does this mean? Well, without NF2 and merlin, cancer activity is initiated by a protein called focal adhesion kinase, also known as FAK. When present, NF2 and merlin lower FAK activity and in turn suppress the aggressive growth and spread of cancer.

The study found that the drug GSK2256098 can be used to block FAK activity and stop the spread of mesothelioma.

Jean-Charles Soria, professor of medicine and medical oncology at South Paris University and the head of early-drug treatment at the Institut Gustave-Roussy, said, “If we could inhibit FAK in mesothelioma patients, it might slow or stop the spread of the disease.”

Professor Soria, along with other colleagues from nine cancer centers in France, Australia, and the United Kingdom began the study in 2010. While the researchers only tracked the effects of the drug in 29 patients, they plan to continue the study with larger clinical trials to confirm that GSK2256098 in fact slows down the progression of mesothelioma.

The process was very simple. The researchers recruited patients who had stable, progressive or non-measurable stages of the disease. The patients took the drug twice a day, in doses ranging from 300-1500 mg. The study found that patients had an average of 17 weeks before the disease progressed further.

The observed side effects of the drug were mainly low grade and tolerable, which, compared to chemotherapy, is an improvement. Chemotherapy is very hard on the body, and a drug that doesn’t take the same toll is definitely a plus.

The study also found that merlin could potentially be used to indicate which mesothelioma patients would benefit most from treatment with GSK2256098. Even better, it could improve the survival rates of patients and lead to drugs that stop the progression of mesothelioma entirely.

It is important to understand that this study is still in an early stage, and nothing is written in stone yet. While this is by no means a cure to mesothelioma, it is definitely encouraging to see that progress is being made in an effort to stop the spread of this aggressive disease.

Considering the hundreds of thousands of Americans that were exposed to asbestos following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, it is expected that a large number of people will be diagnosed with mesothelioma in decades to come. Giving these patients access to a drug that slows down or completely stops the spread of the disease would be innovative and nothing short of a miracle.

What do you think about this drug? Would you participate in the clinical trial? Let us know in the comments or respond on Facebook.

Medically Reviewed by Top Mesothelioma Doctors
Free Mesothelioma Guide