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It is widely known that chemotherapy treatment known as pemetrexed (Alimta) is the only drug which has been approved in the treatment of asbestos related mesothelioma and is regularly used in league with a platinum based drug known as cisplatin.

Many people each year contact us for advice on mesothelioma claims and sufferers are commonly only offered this form of chemotherapy treatment as part of a palliative care package. Such treatment is usually provided to patients through an infusion on a drip.

New hope may lie in a study commissioned by a group of Canadian medical experts which shows that the use of pemetrexed in a specialised treatment known as heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC for short, can be successful providing this is administered at the required temperature.

Researchers tested the HIPEC method on animals in a laboratory at various temperatures and in different amounts. Given that mesothelioma is an incurable disease, further research would benefit mesothelioma sufferers as it is generally accepted that mesothelioma is usually resistant to chemotherapy treatment.

Their discoveries could lead to improved survival rates for mesothelioma patients as HIPEC has been found to be more effective in tackling mesothelioma cells, particularly in the lining of the abdomen, where peritoneal mesothelioma can develop.

HIPEC can be used in conjunction with surgery and once the surgeon has removed as much cancerous tumour as possible, a heated saline solution containing chemotherapy drugs is poured through the abdomen over a length of time. The aim of the process is to eliminate any remaining mesothelioma cells with a view to restricting new tumour growth.

Various studies have highlighted that HIPEC generally resulted in fewer side effects for sufferers.

Before the Montreal experts’ studies, pemetrexed had not been approved for use in HIPEC treatment but the leading author of the study, David Badrudin, advises that higher doses of the chemotherapy drug led to higher levels of absorption into the cancerous cells. He also confirmed that heat had a positive effect when stating:-

“When the perfusion temperature increased, we observed a proportional rise of pemetrexed concentration in both the portal and systemic compartments; while in the peritoneal cells, the pemetrexed concentration increased up to 40 degrees centigrade, after which it plateaued.”

It is thought that the new findings could be used in the development of a clinical trial for the use of pemetrexed (Alimta) in HIPEC treatment.

If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma claim or believe you have a valid asbestos claim relating to another illness, then please contact us today on our Freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.


Source – Badrudin D, et al, “Pharmacokinetics and the effect of heat on intraperitoneal pemetrexed using a murine model”, 20th May 2015, Surgical Oncology. Epub ahead of print.

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