Treatment & Doctors

Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma: An Informational Webinar

Written By:
Jun 30, 2020
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Written By: Sean Marchese, MS, RN,
June 30, 2020
Immunotherapy attacking cancer cells

With the recent FDA approval of the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as a second-line treatment for mesothelioma, many patients and caregivers may be wondering what this therapy is and how they can access it.

The Mesothelioma Center at will be hosting an informational session to answer your questions regarding mesothelioma immunotherapy treatment, including costs, benefits, side effects and who can receive it.

On Tuesday, July 14, at 7 p.m. EDT, we’ll be answering questions during a live session. The webinar will be available as a recording for those unable to attend.

Dr. Snehal Smart will join me on a panel discussing patients’ concerns, hopes and expectations regarding this new type of mesothelioma treatment.


As a registered nurse and clinical trials coordinator, I’ll be asking Smart about her experiences with immunotherapy. We’ll be reviewing the different types of immunotherapy and how physicians are prescribing it.

We’ll also explore the differences between immunotherapy and chemotherapy, such as:

  • How immunotherapy works inside the body
  • The side effects of immunotherapy
  • A timeline of immunotherapy appointments

Patients and caretakers may also have questions about who can benefit from immunotherapy and how oncologists prescribe the treatment.

The webinar will provide details on:

  • Patient populations receiving immunotherapy
  • How well patients can expect immunotherapy to work
  • Survival improvements for mesothelioma patients
  • Points in the disease process where immunotherapy is appropriate
  • Immunotherapy’s role in multimodal therapy

Combination therapy, also known as a multimodality approach, is becoming increasingly popular, and patients are experiencing increased survival rates and better outcomes. Physicians are prescribing immunotherapy alongside mesothelioma surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other treatments. Smart and I will explore:

  • The benefits of prescribing immunotherapy alongside other treatments
  • Improvements to long-term outcomes when using multimodal therapy
  • How different combinations of treatments perform better for different cancer stages

Immunotherapy is a broad category of medicine, and our experts will help viewers narrow down the types of therapy most important to them. Certain kinds of immunotherapy are in various stages of testing, and they are all used in different ways.

Our webinar will explore the three types of immunotherapy most important to mesothelioma patients:

  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors (e.g., Keytruda, Opdivo, Yervoy)
  • CAR T-cell therapy
  • Cancer vaccines

Smart and I will also inform viewers about how they can get approved for immunotherapy, and ways they can pay for treatment.

As an emerging medical treatment, immunotherapy can be prohibitively expensive for most patients. However, there are programs available that help patients cover the cost of mesothelioma treatment, such as:

The webinar will offer a list of things to ask your doctor about getting started on immunotherapy, and we will also be investigating what the future holds.

Whether you’re joining us live or planning to watch the recording, our immunotherapy informational session will provide meaningful discussion and essential answers to questions about this exciting new therapy.

Background on the Experts

Dr. Snehal Smart

Dr. Snehal Smart is an experienced patient advocate and medical advisor who has spent years explaining medical diseases and terminology to patients and families since completing her medical degree. Smart focuses specifically on mesothelioma and has a unique understanding of how developments in immunotherapy can benefit patients.

Smart has helped connect patients with top mesothelioma specialists and clinical trials for new and developing treatments. After assisting mesothelioma patients for many years, she has come to learn the questions asked most often and the many fears these patients face.

Patients and family members may be confused by the various aspects of immunotherapy. However, Smart hopes to help them find answers and feel confident about their future with the information she will provide in this webinar.

Sean Marchese, MS, RN

Sean Marchese is a registered nurse and oncology writer for The Mesothelioma Center at He has worked as a neurosurgical nurse and an oncology clinical research coordinator, assisting patients and providers through head, neck and thoracic cancer studies.

Since joining The Mesothelioma Center, Marchese has helped provide patients the tools and resources they need to fight cancer. He has over 10 years of clinical experience and more than six years in clinical research. Marchese has planned and led experimental clinical trials in oncology involving TTFields, immunotherapy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Marchese has authored many informational pieces for patients and continues to provide expert opinions on current events and best health practices. With the aid of this webinar, he hopes patients and caregivers will discover the answers they need and find encouragement with new options in mesothelioma treatment.

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