Mesothelioma Gene Therapy, involving therapeutic delivery of nucleic acid into a patient’s cells as a drug to treat Mesothelioma is still it its clinical trial stage.
The Department of Defense has designated $50 million for research related to mesothelioma. In addition, The Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) is currently conducting research regarding gene therapy, some of which is applicable to Mesothelioma Gene Therapy. This research helps scientists understand why genes respond to certain environmental factors that result in cancer and may one day help us cure mesothelioma.
Experts speculate that gene mutation is partly responsible for the development of cancerous tumors and Mesothelioma Gene Therapy has the ability to reverse them. When genes mutate, the genes may communicate false instructions to other developing cells. The perpetual development of mutating cells may contribute to growth of cancerous tumors. Other unhealthy behaviors, such as exposure to hazardous materials and chemicals, smoking, and extended sun exposure may also be contributing factors.
Several types of Mesothelioma Gene Therapy treatments are available for mesothelioma patients. Anti-angiogenesis, gene replacement, and gene knock-out therapy are current solutions for slowing or eradicating cancer cell growth. Currently, gene therapy remains primarily in research phase. However, experts recommend doctors use Mesothelioma Gene Therapy in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Anti-angiogenesis introduces genes into the bloodstream that slow the growth of blood vessels. By eliminating oxygen and blood supply to the tumor, scientists have found that cancerous growths will halt or become eliminated in some instances.
Replacement Gene Therapy
One form of gene replacement focuses on replacing the gene responsible for cancerous cell growth. Gene replacement slows or stops the gene responsible for abnormal rapid cell division associated with cancer.
Knock-Out Gene Therapy
The University of Pennsylvania is researching knock-out gene therapy, which introduces a virus into the body. This virus then makes cancerous cells vulnerable to cancer medication by producing “suicide genes,” which create an enzyme called thymidine kinase (TK). The enzyme interacts with nearby cancer cells and marks them.
Next, a drug called Ganciclovir is administered intravenously. This drug views the cancer cells producing thymidine kinase as a viral infection. Ganciclovir attacks and destroys marked cancer cells, while healthy cells remain unharmed.
Gene Therapy Research and Clinical Trials
German scientists have conducted Mesothelioma Gene Therapy experiments on animal models that have yielded significant tumor reduction. According to the research, mesothelioma gene therapy slowed the growth of cancerous cells by 50 percent and increased animal life expectancy by 40 percent.
Risks of Gene Therapy
Mesothelioma Gene Therapy is still in clinical trial phase, which means it is still risky. The knock-out gene therapy process has been successful in targeting cancerous tumors, but they may cause liver damage and swelling. Plus, the liver rids the body of harmful substances, so the virus may never reach the tumor. Potential candidates should be aware of such risks before participating in gene therapy.
After mesothelioma patients receive their prognosis, many are given less than two years to live. The majority are willing to endure experimental gene therapy with hopes that the benefits will outweigh the risks. If successful, Mesothelioma Gene Therapy may prolong the life of these patients.