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Metal-Based Chemotherapy Could Help Improve Survival in Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

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Using chemotherapy with platinum in it has been shown in mice studies to kill cancer cells

AUSTIN, Texas - Jan. 16, 2019 - Amzeal -- Swiss researchers are experimenting with a metal-based anti-cancer drug to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy in treating patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Chemotherapy is used to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma in nearly all cases, but the mesothelioma eventually develops a resistance to the drugs, making them ineffective.

Researchers at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have begun treating mesothelioma patients first with the drug RAPTA-T, which contains an element in the platinum group, to slow tumor growth and better absorb the chemotherapy in treating patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Chemotherapy first reaches the tumor via blood vessels, then enter the tumor tissue to deliver the liquid that kills cancer cells. The researchers found that abnormal blood vessels in mesothelioma cancer cells can build up pressure in the cell tissue that keeps out the chemotherapy drugs.

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Whereas other researchers focus on halting the growth of new blood vessels, which fuel mesothelioma tumor growth, the Swiss researchers are experimenting with the opposite - aiding the growth of blood vessels in mesothelioma tumors in the hopes that the chemotherapy can be better absorbed.

RAPTA-T is known to enhance blood vessel growth in tumors, and in the researchers' experiments on mice, when RAPTA-T was administered prior to the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, there was reduced tissue pressure and increased oxygen levels in the tumor, which allows for better chemotherapy absorption. The researchers reported "enhanced mesothelioma growth inhibition" in the mice.

"By combining RAPTA-T with cisplatin, one of the first-line chemotherapeutic agents for mesothelioma, we demonstrate improved treatment outcome through higher chemotherapeutic drug uptake into the tumor," the authors said in a July 6 article in Scientific Reports.

Previous studies using platinum-based chemotherapy drugs, including cisplatin, have proven effective but short-lived in treating mesothelioma patients and the mesothelioma eventually recurs. Continued experimentation with these types of drugs could lead to better survival in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, which 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma each year.

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The metal platinum has been shown to stop cells, including mesothelioma cancer cells, from multiplying but often have significant side effects.

Ruthenium is still in pre-clinical trials but is being tested in treating mesothelioma and other cancers because it is less toxic than platinum while also halting mesothelioma tumor growth and spread.

The researchers concluded their mice-study by saying chemotherapy with RAPTA-T in cases of advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma could prove to be an effective treatment. The researchers plan to continue studying the effects and efficacy of RAPTA-T in treating patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The study can be found online at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-28589-2.

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Eric Sistenbaum

Source: Understandmeso.com
Filed Under: Science

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