It’s no secret that exposure to asbestos has the potential to cause medical issues. Thankfully, it doesn’t always result in developing serious or life-threatening conditions, but sadly, it can. According to the FDA, 20,000 Americans are diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) annually.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer thought to be caused by exposure to asbestos, but with a recent new combination therapy approved by the FDA, there is some hope for improved survival. Here are some key facts to know.
Five Facts About The FDA’s New Mesothelioma Treatment
- This new therapy combines two drugs called Opdivo and Yervoy (otherwise known as nivolumab and ipilimumab, respectively) – both are monoclonal antibodies that have been proven to decrease tumor growth by enhancing T-cell function.
- The combination therapy is the first mesothelioma drug regimen approved in 16 years and the second only ever FDA-approved systemic therapy for mesothelioma ever passed by the administration.
- Initial clinical trials demonstrated that the use of Opdivo + Yervoy reduced the risk of dying from mesothelioma by 26% when compared to administering platinum-based chemotherapy.
- The findings have been so encouraging that the European Commission has since also granted approval to the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company for the combination therapy.
- A new clinical trial is set to begin in January 2022 at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center to test the efficacy of using the combination therapy in conjunction with a surgical approach for peritoneal mesothelioma (abdominal cancer caused by ingesting asbestos fibers). The trial will last three years and will include approximately 40 patients.