Mesothelioma is a cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos, which currently has no cure. Doctors continue to research new treatments for mesothelioma in the hope of finding a way to finally defeat this insidious disease and researchers in Switzerland may be a step closer.


Over the last few years there have been huge advances in the use of immunotherapy to treat mesothelioma. Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to amplify or supress an immune response to treat the cancer.

Some patients have seen great results from immunotherapy, sadly, this is not the case for everyone. Immunotherapy can be expensive and is not currently available as a standard treatment on the NHS. We have been successful in claiming the costs of immunotherapy as part of the asbestos compensation claims we pursue for our clients.

Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses light sensitive medicine along with a light source to destroy abnormal cells. PDT is currently used to treat a number of skin conditions, including skin cancer, as well as oesophageal, mouth and lung cancer.

Due to the positive results immunotherapy and PDT have shown in treating cancer, Swiss researchers believe that combining the two treatments could yield even better results.

Mesothelioma tumours in mice

The researchers studied mesothelioma in mice. First they introduced a chemical to make the cancer cells more sensitive to light and they found that low dose PDT increased a specific molecule, E-selectin. This is a molecule that attracts the immune system cells that fight cancer. The mice were then treated with a drug that makes the mesothelioma cells more visible to the immune system, an immune checkpoint inhibitor.

Regression of mesothelioma

The result of the combined treatments was extremely encouraging. There was a complete regression of mesothelioma in 37.5% of animals treated with a combination of L-PDT and anti-CTLA4.

This is such encouraging news and although there are still many more trials this treatment will need to go through before it is available to patients, there is hope for the future treatment of mesothelioma.

If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma claim or believe you have a valid claim for any other asbestos-related disease, 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.



Cavin, S, et al, “Low-dose photodynamic therapy promotes a cytotoxic immunological response in a murine model of pleural mesothelioma”, May 5, 2020, European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Epub ahead of print,

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