Researchers at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital have discovered a new option for treating malignant pleural mesothelioma. For the first time in the world, they were able to show in a preclinical study, both in the cell culture and in the animal model, that trabectedin, a chemotherapy drug that is already successfully used for other types of cancer, is also effective against malignant pleural mesothelioma. The active agent originally occurs in the Caribbean sea cucumber, a marine-dwelling tunicate. The study results were recently published in “Molecular Cancer Therapeutics”, the therapy-oriented journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The initial interim results of a clinical study from Italy confirm these results and show that they are transferable to clinical practice.
With around 90 new cases per year in Austria, malignant pleural mesothelioma is one of the rarer forms of cancer. However, it is on the increase. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a very aggressive form of cancer that is associated with asbestos and is routinely treated with a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy. Since this particular type of tumour often develops resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the prognosis is very poor.
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