Researchers have been looking into ways to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy for mesothelioma. A new compound may be the key.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer which is notoriously difficult to treat. Unfortunately, it is resistant against many of the usual cancer treatments and so the survival rate is generally quite poor. On average, mesothelioma patients survive for around 18 months following diagnosis.

Swiss scientists at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technologu have been looking to improve this survival rate. They have investigated the use of metal-based compound, RAPTA-T, and found that it may be able to offer a solution for mesothelioma’s resilience.

The results so far:

So far, researchers have only tested the compound on mice. However, the results have been promising. During the research, mice were implanted with human mesothelioma tumours. They were then treated with RAPTA-T.

RAPTA-T was found to enhance the vascularization of the tumours, which increases oxygenation and blood flow. The mice were then given the standard mesothelioma treatment, cisplatin, which is a chemotherapy drug. Due to the effects of the RAPTA-T, the tumours were primed to absorb more of the cisplatin. As a result, the growth of the mesothelioma tumours slowed.

Research author, Tina Riedel wrote, “RAPTA-T pre-treatment followed by the application of cisplatin…leads to increased levels of cytotoxin in the tumor and enhanced mesothelioma growth inhibition.” She continued, “These findings suggest novel therapeutic implications for RAPTA-T to create conditions for superior drug uptake and efficacy…in malignant pleural mesothelioma.”

Whilst this study is only in its infancy, it gives hope to mesothelioma patients that research is still making progress for a cure for mesothelioma in the future.

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Source: Riedel, T, et al, “Chemo-manipulation of tumor blood vessels by a metal-based anticancer complex enhances anti-tumor therapy.” July 6, 2018, Scientific Reports.

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