Mesothelioma gene therapy treats cancer by introducing genetic material from healthy cells into the body. New genes can be activated to help kill mesothelioma cells.
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Mesothelioma gene therapy is an emerging type of treatment that is now available to patients through participation in clinical trials. Gene therapy treats disease by introducing new cells to kill cancer cells or allowing more effective use of other types of treatment.
- Mesothelioma gene therapy introduces healthy genetic material into the body.
- Gene therapy is only available to mesothelioma patients through clinical trials.
- Studies have found success in prolonging patients’ survival with the treatment.
- Gene therapy has proven to be an option
Mesothelioma gene therapy uses genes from healthy cells to help destroy cancer genes in mesothelioma cells by “turning on” newly introduced genetic material. When introduced into the body, these genes cause the mesothelioma cells to make a protein that prevents the cancer cells from replicating. In addition to blocking replication, this therapy can cause one of two effects, based on the genetic material used. This therapy makes cancer cells more sensitive to other therapies or causes cancer cell death. Gene therapy for mesothelioma patients is currently only available throughclinical trials.
Types Of Gene Therapy
There are many types of gene therapy currently in clinical trials at cancer centers around the world. Each gene therapy clinical trial focuses on treating specific types of cancer and determining which gene therapy modality is most appropriate for that particular cancer. Of the many trials underway, only a handful of gene treatments have been successful in prolonging patients’ lives.
Angioplasty inhibits the growth of blood vessels. Without growing and functioning blood vessels, mesothelial tumors cannot get the blood supply they need to grow. While effective in preventing the formation of new blood vessels, angiogenesis inhibitors do not directly kill cancer. The drug’s nature, which focuses on slowing growth rather than killing cancer, requires patients to take the drug for a long time. Angioplasty inhibitors are often given as part of a multimodal treatment plan. There are two forms of angiogenesis inhibitors. One attacks the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the other attacks the VEGF receptors, both of which are part of blood vessel production. Possible therapeutic side effects vary depending on whether the angiogenic inhibitor is targeting VEGF or its receptor.
Side Effects Of VEGF Targeted Angiogenesis Inhibitors
- Blood clots
- Digestive tract perforation
- Heart attack
- Protein in urine
Angiogenesis inhibitors that target VEGF receptors include the side effects mentioned above, as well as fatigue, diarrhea, biochemical hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone), hand-foot syndrome (hand blisters/ feet), heart failure, and hair changes.
Cancer treatment with gene transfer involves introducing genes into cancer cells to slow tumor growth or kill cancer. The most successful gene therapy involves the use of suicide genes. These viral or bacterial genes have the ability to convert a non-toxic drug into a cancer-killing drug while inside the tumor. By using these suicide genes, normal healthy tissues are not affected by cancer-killing or cancer-causing drugs, which reduces side effects. Many patients undergoing gene transfer therapy report no side effects at all. Studies have also shown that the use of suicide gene therapy can make cancers more sensitive to radiation therapy.
Gene transfer can be completed with viral or non-viral vectors. The most common viral vectors include:
- Adenovirus and adeno-associated viruses
- Virus Herpes simplex (HSV)
- Virus Vaccinia
Non-viral vectors are used less often because the impact of their use is unclear, which causes some concern in the cancer research community. Nude DNA is often used if a non-viral vector is desired.
Oncolytic virotherapy uses viruses to attack cancer cells. These viruses target and destroy cancer cells or activate the immune system’s own cancer-killing antibodies, called T cells. Studies have shown that oncolytic virothelytic therapy has benefited patients whose cancer has not responded to other traditional therapies, such as radiation or chemotherapy. Viruses used for virothelytic therapy include measles, HSV, West Nile and Hepatitis B viruses, among others.
Side effects associated with virothelytic oncolytic therapy are usually mild and resolve soon after treatment. The most common side effects reported after treatment included flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, muscle aches, and nausea. Less commonly, patients report pain at the injection site. For many patients, the curative effects of oncolytic virothelytic therapy outweigh the possible risks.
How Does Gene Therapy Treat Mesothelioma?
Many clinical trials continue to test different forms of gene therapy for mesothelioma. For pleural mesothelioma, studies have successfully used gene therapy to induce an anti-tumor effect by targeting defective genes associated with mesothelioma. For many cancers, including pleural mesothelioma, the researchers noted a defect in the p53 gene, which encodes a protein responsible for regulating normal cell function. Without a properly functioning p53 gene pathway, cancer cells become immune to apoptotic cell death. A preclinical trial used adenoviral vectors to revive the p53 pathway and achieve apoptosis of cancer cells, leading to tumor remission. In addition, this favorable outcome has been achieved in patient populations that may not be eligible for other treatment modalities, pleural effusion, which usually indicates a later stage of the disease.
CAR-T cell therapy has also been used to treat patients with mesothelioma. The form of treatment is the first gene therapy drug to receive FDA approval for several cancers, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and young adults. The drug is currently in phase 1 trials to test its effectiveness in treating mesothelioma. This gene therapy approach uses the body’s immune system, like immunotherapy drugs, such as the patient’s own cells (T cells, a type of white blood cell) to attack cancer cells after they have been genetically engineered to identify cells with a cancer marker protein mesothelial cells, such as mesothelin. The trial is too early for definitive results, but the combination of two emerging treatments, gene therapy and immunotherapy, holds promise for mesothelioma patients who need treatment options. feasible value.
Eligible For Mesothelial Gene Therapy
Mesothelioma patients can only receive gene therapy if they are accepted into a clinical trial. Clinical trials create their own eligibility criteria, which may include mesothelioma type, stage, and cell type. The variety of trials may allow patients of allstages of mesothelioma to qualify and participate in the trial if they wish.
To participate in a clinical trial, a patient must have a doctor’s consent. The patient’s healthcare team will be able to discuss the potential benefits of the trial for that patient’s specific case of mesothelioma.
Patients should also question any emerging treatment risks, as well as what other treatments or clinical trials may be possible for their individual circumstances.
Side Effects And Risks Of Gene Therapy
The side effects of gene therapy vary depending on what type of gene therapy is being performed, including chills, fever, and fatigue. Although varied, the side effects experienced in gene therapy are usually mild and usually do not last long. However, with further research through clinical trials, doctors will gain a better understanding of the treatment’s effectiveness and any other potential risks that may arise.
Gene therapy may be a favorable treatment option for cancer patients whose disease has not responded to other treatment modalities. Patients should discuss the potential risks and side effects withtheir mesothelioma specialistand the physicians performing the gene therapy clinical trial before starting treatment.