Treating Mesothelioma With Anti-Angiogenic Therapy
Angiogenesis is a medical term which refers to the growth of new blood vessels. Because cancers grow so rapidly, they will eventually need to begin growing their own blood vessels in order to get a sufficient supply of blood. The theory behind anti-angiogenic therapy is that if this growth of blood vessels can be stopped, the cancer will be unable to keep growing. This therapy is therefore classified as a type of biological therapy, because it uses natural body substances or drugs that control natural body substances in order to treat the cancer, in this case, mesothelioma, a rare, deadly form of cancer often caused by exposure to asbestos.
There are two main chemicals in the body which control the growth of new blood vessels: the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2). It is has been found that patients with mesothelioma have much higher levels of VEGF than patients with any other type of cancer. This finding suggests that disruption or control of VEGF may be key in using anti-angiogenic therapy to treat mesothelioma.
One drug which is being tested in mesothelioma treatments is called bevacizumab. Bevacizumab has been previously tested in bowel, kidney, breast, ovarian, non small cell lung, and prostate cancers. One trial suggested that it may be effective in treating lung cancers. Another trial which concluded in 2005 tested bevacizumab, along with the chemotherapy drugs gemcitabine and cisplatin, against mesothelioma. The results from this study are yet to be released.
As with any new treatment, many tests will be needed before anti-angiogenic therapy can be turned into a widely used form of cancer therapy. However, if it works, it may signal new hope for those suffering from mesothelioma. If you have been exposed to asbestos, contact a mesothelioma attorney from Williams Kherkher today at 800-781-3955.