Scientists at the University of Salento in Italy have found a platinum-based drug that successfully slows the growth of the most aggressive type of mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma is a fast-growing cancer caused by asbestos that attacks the mesothelium, which is the tissue that lines the lungs and other organs. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the least common of the three types, but is considered the most aggressive form of mesothelioma and is the hardest to treat. In early trials, the experimental drug Ptac2S was much more effective at reducing the spread of sarcomatoid malignant pleural mesothelioma as compared to cisplatin – currently the most widely used chemotherapy drug for treating mesothelioma.
In this study, Ptac2S reduced the growth rate of sarcomatoid cells up to 50 percent and decreased tumor mass by 53 percent. Cisplatin, in the same study, showed just a 12 percent reduction in tumor mass. Ptac2S was also shown to be 12 times more effective in reducing the growth of epithelioid cells, which account for approximately 50 percent of all diagnosed cases of mesothelioma.
There is currently a great need for increased efficacy in mesothelioma treatments. The standard of care for treating malignant mesothelioma is a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, survival rates remain very low, with approximately 50 percent of patients surviving just one year post-diagnosis. Furthermore, chemotherapy drugs stop working over time as patients develop a tolerance to the drugs. Ptac2S, however, has been shown to be inherently less capable of evoking tolerance/resistance
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