Breathe in and breathe out. The treatment may be that simple.
European scientists are developing a new treatment option that would allow drugs to be delivered through inhalation to patients who are diagnosed with lung cancer and mesothelioma. This could mean that delivery of some medications may one day not have to involve intravenous (IV) contact.
The treatment utilizes a nebulizer to deliver drugs in a vaporized form. This method may also eliminate the side effects that often result from current IV methods, such as kidney disease.
Thousands of mesothelioma patients may be able to benefit from this new development. The disease, caused by asbestos exposure, causes the death of 2,000 to 3,000 Americans each year, in addition to thousands of deaths annually in Scotland, where the treatment is being developed.
Solutions Developed Abroad
Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, appear optimistic about the potential of the treatment that they have been working hard to develop.
“By delivering cisplatin, one of the most widely used drugs for lung cancer, in a vaporized form, we would be able to get it to the cancerous cells and avoid the damage to healthy cells which can be hugely debilitating to patients. It would make the treatment far less onerous for them and we hope it would help them to live longer,” said Dr. Chris Carter, a Senior Lecturer the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences who led the research.
As treatment options for mesothelioma are often limited for patients, this new development may provide a source of hope for easier treatment with less side effects. Cisplatin is a common chemotherapy drug for treating mesothelioma, and many patients experience side effects from IV administration of the drug. A nebulizer treatment strategy will allow drugs to be administered faster than current methods and will alleviate much of the discomfort.
“It would make the treatment far less onerous for them and we hope it would help them to live longer,” said Dr. Carter.
The research is evidence of increased efforts by many scientists and organizations to find treatments for rare asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, which currently has no cure.