UK scientists hail 'wonderful' new drug for deadly asbestos-linked cancer | Health - Hindustan Times
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UK scientists hail 'wonderful' new drug for mesothelioma, deadly asbestos-linked cancer

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Feb 16, 2024 04:53 PM IST

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that is not possible to cure but UK scientists now hail a ‘truly wonderful’ new drug for this aggressive asbestos-linked disease

An aggressive and rare form of cancer, mesothelioma develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of some of the body's organs but according to health experts, it mainly affects the lining of the lungs although it can also affect the lining of the tummy, heart or testicles. It is usually linked to asbestos exposure at work and hard to treat or not possible to cure although treatment can help control the deadly symptoms.

UK scientists hail 'wonderful' new drug for mesothelioma, deadly asbestos-linked cancer (Image from Twitter/az_osteo)
UK scientists hail 'wonderful' new drug for mesothelioma, deadly asbestos-linked cancer (Image from Twitter/az_osteo)

Thousands of people are diagnosed with the disease globally every year and mesothelioma has one of the world’s worst cancer survival rates but hope seems to be on the horizon for patients as UK scientists hail a “truly wonderful” new drug for this aggressive asbestos-linked cancer that resulted from a breakthrough clinical trial. The recent clinical trial showcases the promising results of combining ADI-PEG20 with chemotherapy for malignant mesothelioma patients and is indeed a significant stride in the field of oncology.

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The study was published in JAMA Oncology and this collaborative effort led by Queen Mary University of London and The University of Western Australia underscores the global impact of this breakthrough as the international trial spanned five countries with patients from the UK, US, Australia, Italy and Taiwan between 2017 and 2021 and revealed that the new drug that cuts off the tumour’s food supply, quadrupled three-year survival rates. This innovative approach demonstrates the potential to enhance survival rates and marks a turning point in the fight against mesothelioma.

The authors, including Prof Peter Szlosarek at Queen Mary who led the research, wrote, “In this pivotal, randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial in 249 patients with pleural mesothelioma, pegargiminase-chemotherapy increased significantly the median overall survival by 1.6 months and quadrupled the survival at 36 months compared to placebo-chemotherapy. Pegargiminase-based chemotherapy was well tolerated with no new safety signals.”

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Jyoti Mehta, MD Radiation and Clinical Oncologist at TGH Onco Life Cancer Centre in Talegaon, gushed, “The success of this clinical trial raises optimism within the scientific community, emphasizing the importance of collaborative research and the pursuit of novel treatment strategies. The integration of ADI-PEG20 with chemotherapy offers a beacon of hope for patients battling malignant mesothelioma, showcasing the potential for improved outcomes and an enhanced quality of life.”

She asserted, “While further studies and clinical validations will be crucial, these early findings underscore the importance of continued investment in research and development to bring forth transformative solutions for challenging medical conditions. The scientific community eagerly awaits more detailed insights into the mechanisms and long-term impacts of ADI-PEG20, with the hope that it may emerge as a truly wonderful advancement in the treatment landscape for asbestos-linked cancers.”

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