Earlier this month the FDA approved Keytruda, manufactured by Merck, to treat melanoma. Keytruda disrupts the cancer cells that tell the body's immune system not to attack the cancer cells as intruders. Keytruda, and other drugs in this class are already being tested on other types of cancers including small cell lung cancer and mesothelioma caused by exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers.
The 11th Annual International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, hosted by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation), scheduled for March 5-7, 2014 in Alexandria, Virginia is available for patients and families and the entire mesothelioma community. This year the symposium also features an additional mesothelioma scientific seminar for scientists and medical professionals only. Many topics relating to mesothelioma will be discussed at the symposium with the scientists and medical experts attending the scientific seminar available to interact with symposium attendees after their sessions. For a list of symposium and scientific speakers attending go to www.curemeso.org
Nanotechnology is a new field that offers scientists the ability to control matter in very small dimensions including enhancement of the delivery of drugs to treat mesothelioma and lung cancer. Materials at the nanoscale can have different properties compared to their conventionally-scaled counterparts. Scientists can use the properties to enhance the quality of a drug. Because these properties have the ability to affect not only the effectiveness, but the safety of drugs, the FDA is currently studying issues related to Nanotechnology in medical products according to Celia N. Cruz, Ph.D., at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Ken Adler, a professor of cell biology at North Carolina State University developed a compound similar to a protein called a peptide. The peptide was developed to stop inflammation from spreading in patients suffering from lung problems such as chronic bronchitis or asthma. Adler, and long-time friend Reen Wu of the University of California-Davis, have now teamed up to see if this new peptide would stop cancer cells from spreading. Using this peptide, the spread of lung cancer or metastasis in mice was stopped. According to an article published in the News & Observer, Wu tested the peptide on human cancer cells last fall and remarked "Wow. We've never seen anything like this. It stops them from moving completely." The peptide inactivates actin, the main cable inside cells, which directs cell movement. According to Wu, "Inactivating actin prevents it from anchoring to the cell wall and keeps cells from moving."