PressMediaWire.com (Press Release Distribution) – Feb 04,2012 –
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota are seeking malignant pleural mesothelioma patients to participate in a clinical trial to test whether a measles injection can help kill cancer cells.
Although it may seem counterintuitive to treat cancer by injecting a virus into patients, researchers believe that the vaccine strain of the measles can help. Investigators expect the measles virus to infect and kill cancer cells while sparing normal cells in malignant pleural mesothelioma patients. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in the lining of the lung.
During phase I of this mesothelioma treatment, the measles virus is anticipated to trigger an antitumor immune response, which will destroy the tumor.
The therapies that use vaccines such as this one are called immunotherapies. Doctors believe that activating our own immune systems against cancer cells plays an important role in reducing the tumors.
Immunotherapy is one of the latest principles in medicine used to treat not only mesothelioma, but other types of cancers as well. Combined with radiation, surgery and chemotherapy, scientists hope that immunotherapy helps extend the lives of pleural mesothelioma patients.
Symptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma can include shortness of breath, painful breath and pain or swelling in the abdomen. Symptoms will vary depending on the patient and the stage of the disease.
The experimental study will involve 36 patients who will receive treatment every 28 days for up to six courses. After treatment, the patients will be observed every three to six months for up to five years.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Other types of mesothelioma include peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs near the abdomen, and pericardial mesothelioma, which occurs around the heart.
Before participating in clinical trials such as this one, patients should evaluate the risks and benefits. These clinical trials can offer hope to patients who have mesothelioma. Patients should also consider travel expenses and how often they will need see the coordinating physicians. A complete list of clinical trials can be found at the National Institute of Health database. The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups also has information about clinical trials for cancer patients.
The principal investigator of the measles study is Dr. Tobias Peikert of the Mayo Clinic.Study sponsors are the Mayo Clinic and the National Cancer Institute.
The identifier number for the mesothelioma trial is NCT01503177. Researchers expect the trial to be completed in November 2013.
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