Top 10 Mesothelioma News Stories of 2016
Mesothelioma researchers, advocates and physicians unite across the nation every day to change the future of mesothelioma treatment.
Because of their selfless efforts, mesothelioma survivors are living longer, fuller lives with their loved ones at their side.
As an advocacy organization, we continually share the latest news about medical breakthroughs and other advancements impacting the mesothelioma community. Today, we reflect on several major headlines of 2016.
Many of our top headlines this year focused on new treatment options for mesothelioma patients. Given the rarity of this difficult cancer and the lack of a cure, patients may feel they have limited options. Thanks to mesothelioma specialists around the world, survivors now have hope for a cure in the future.
Cuba’s Lung Cancer Vaccine Heading to the US
CimaVax, a new lung cancer vaccine, will make its way the U.S. after changing lives in Cuba for more than two decades. The loosening of the 54-year-old Cuban embargo made access to the vaccine in the U.S. possible. The Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, will soon begin a clinical trial for lung cancer patients featuring the vaccine. This development means there is hope the immunotherapy drug will also fight mesothelioma.
Immunotherapy Trial for Mesothelioma Shows Early Promise
Mesothelioma patients responded well in a phase I clinical trial for avelumab, an immunotherapy drug researchers are testing on more than a dozen cancers. The trial included 53 mesothelioma patients with the pleural or peritoneal type of the cancer. The drug reduced tumor size in nearly 10 percent of patients, and the majority of participants had limited side effects from the treatment.
Immunotherapy Vaccine for Mesothelioma Gets High Marks
A mesothelioma clinical trial focused on a new immunotherapy vaccine showed amazing results. Tumor shrinkage was reported in 85 percent of patients. Researchers say immunotherapy vaccine CRS-207 may soon become a standard-of-care treatment for mesothelioma. In addition, CRS-207 produced a startling 94 percent disease control rate when combined with a chemotherapy cocktail of cisplatin and pemetrexed in a recent, multicenter clinical trial.
Tremelimumab Failed to Extend Mesothelioma Survival Rates
Researchers were previously testing tremelimumab, an immunotherapy drug, as a second- and third-line treatment for unresectable mesothelioma in a phase IIb trial. The drug already had shown success with other cancers. Unfortunately, the drug failed to extend the lives of malignant mesothelioma patients, which resulted in ending the multicenter clinical trial in March. While this is seemingly bad news, mesothelioma researchers can now turn their heads and focus to more promising treatment options.
WT1 Vaccine Nears Approval as Second-Line Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma patients may soon benefit from the first second-line treatment for the disease if the FDA approves the WT1 vaccine. Nearly all mesothelioma patients express the WT1 antigen, which would allow a majority of patients to potentially benefit from the vaccine. Research shows the vaccine is especially effective as an enhancement to treatment, mostly in preventing recurrence after first-line therapy such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
Garlock, EnPro Reach $480M Settlement for Asbestos Claims
EnPro Industries agreed to the multimillion-dollar settlement of Garlock asbestos claims against the company’s bankruptcy trust fund. The settlement was reached with the court-appointed committee representing current claimants and legal representatives for future claimants. Now, Garlock asbestos victims may finally have access to the financial assistance they rightfully deserve.
New Study: Asbestos Related to Most Common Kidney Cancer
An Italian study shows asbestos exposure may lead to the most common type of kidney cancer: Renal cell carcinoma. The link to kidney cancer adds to the horrific history of asbestos, a substance definitively connected to mesothelioma, lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses. This exemplifies the serious dangers related to asbestos exposure and serves as a reminder for people with any history of asbestos exposure to diligently monitor their health for any possible changes.
Mr. Fluffy Asbestos: Photos Educate Canberra Homeowners
New photos show the extreme contamination endangering Canberra residents living in homes with Mr. Fluffy brand loose fill insulation. Australia’s Asbestos Response Taskforce shared photos in order to raise awareness about how toxic fibers can migrate through homes. It’s important to remember that asbestos is not banned in the U.S. and many homes built before the 1990s may still have the deadly substance lurking behind walls and in ceiling tiles.
Comedian Quincy Jones Has Mesothelioma, Lands HBO special
In a story that collectively broke the mesothelioma community’s heart, young rising star comedian Quincy Jones was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. Given a heart-wrenching prognosis of just one year, the young star set out to raise awareness and leave a comedic legacy behind. With the help of TV star Ellen DeGeneres and HBO, Quincy was able to live his dream by hosting his first one-hour comedy special.
Johnny Lattner: Heisman Winner and Steeler Dies of Mesothelioma
Heisman Trophy winner and two-time college football All-American Johnny Lattner died of mesothelioma in February 2016 at the age of 83. Diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer in September 2014, the well-known football player cited his two years in the U.S. Air Force and his summer jobs in college as his exposure sites. This serves as a reminder that U.S. veterans are at a high risk of developing mesothelioma because every branch of the military used asbestos.
Dedicated to Continually Increasing Mesothelioma Education
All of us at The Mesothelioma Center are committed to raising awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos. Throughout 2017, we will continue to share information about recent innovations from the mesothelioma research community.
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15 Cited Article Sources
Schumaker, E. & Almendrala, A. (2015, May 14). Cuba's Had A Lung Cancer Vaccine For Years, And Now It's Coming To The U.S.
Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/02/22/cuba-lung-cancer-vaccine_n_7267518.html
Pfizer. (2016, May 18). Merck KGaA, Darmstadtd, Germany, and Pfizer to Present Avelumab Data in Seven Different Cancers at ASCO Annual Meeting.
Retrieved from: http://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/merck_kgaa_darmstadt_germany_and_pfizer_to_present_avelumab_data_in_seven_different_cancers_at_asco_annual_meeting
Hassan, R. et al. (2016). A pivotal randomized phase II study of anetumab ravtansine or vinorelbine in patients with advanced or metastatic pleural mesothelioma after progression on platinum/pemetrexed-based chemotherapy.
Retrieved from: http://meetinglibrary.asco.org/print/2402221
Levitan, D. (2016, June 6). Avelumab Promising in Unresectable Mesothelioma.
Retrieved from: http://www.cancernetwork.com/asco-2016-lung-cancer/avelumab-promising-unresectable-mesothelioma
Powers, V. (2016, April 15). Novel Vaccine Added to Chemotherapy Improves Patient Outcomes in Mesothelioma.
Retrieved from: http://www.onclive.com/conference-coverage/ELCC-2016/novel-vaccine-added-to-chemotherapy-improves-patient-outcomes-in-mesothelioma
AstraZeneca.com. (2016, February 29). AstraZeneca reports top-line result of tremelimumab monotherapy trial in mesothelioma.
Retrieved from: https://www.astrazeneca.com/our-company/media-centre/press-releases/2016/astrazeneca-reports-top-line-result-of-tremelimumab-monotherapy-trial-in-mesothelioma-29022016.html
Antonia, S., Goldberg, S., et al. (2016, February 5). Safety and antitumour activity of durvalumab plus tremelimumab in non-small cell lung cancer: a multicenter, phase I b study.
Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26858122
Sellas Life Sciences Group. (2016, February 29). SELLAS Life Sciences Announces FDA Orphan Drug Designation for WT1 Cancer Vaccine in Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.
Retrieved from: http://sellaslifesciences.com/2016/02/sellas-life-sciences-announces-fda-orphan-drug-designation-for-wt1-cancer-vaccine-in-patients-with-malignant-pleural-mesothelioma/
Reyes, R. (2016, March 18). EnPro Industries Reaches Deal on Asbestos Claims for $480 Million Trust.
Retrieved from: http://sonoranweeklyreview.com/enpro-industries-reaches-deal-on-asbestos-claims-for-480-mln-trust-nysenpo/
EnPro Industries. (2016, March 17). EnPro Industries Reaches Permanent, Comprehensive Settlement of Current and Future Asbestos Claims.
Retrieved from: http://enproindustries.com/press-release/acrp/enpro-industries-reaches-permanent-comprehensive-settlement-current-and-future
Candura, S. et al. (2016, May 26). Renal cell carcinoma and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma after occupational asbestos exposure: case report.
Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27240221
Retrieved from: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/asbestos-taskforce-releases-photos-of-some-of-worst-contamination-found-to-date-20160226-gn4kq1.html
Blake, M. (2016, March 21). Terminally ill comedian Quincy Jones lands stand-up special at HBO.
Retrieved from: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-comedian-quincy-jones-cancer-standup-special-at-hbo-20160321-story.html
Maloney, D. & Lanz, M. (2016, February 26). Comedian Quincy Jones: ‘There is no cancer when I’m on that stage.’
Retrieved from: http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2016/02/26/46761/comedian-quincy-jones-there-is-no-cancer-when-im-o/
- Skrbina, P. (2016, February 13). Heisman winner, former Notre Dame, Fenwick star Johnny Lattner dies at 83. Retrieved from: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-notre-dame-fenwick-johnny-lattner-dies-20160213-story.html