From the blog

ADI-PEG20 Improves Survival in Mesothelioma Patients

Published: March 1, 2024

ADI-PEG20 is showing promising results for mesothelioma. It is the first treatment to be fully incorporated with chemotherapy in 20 years. The drug will bring hope to thousands of mesothelioma survivors and their families. The drug works by blocking a cancer’s food supply, preventing the spread of the cancer. It does this by absorbing the amino acid arginine from the bloodstream. Arginine helps the body build proteins. Mesothelioma cells are deficient in the protein known as ASS1, which allows cells to create their own arginine. If the cells cannot get it from blood, their ability to grow is hindered.

The research was led by Queen Mary University of London and had patients from five different countries including Australia, Italy, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States. Research took place from 2017 through 2021. Treatment involved patients receiving chemotherapy every three weeks for up to six cycles. There were 249 pleural mesothelioma patients in the final analysis. Fifty percent of the patients in the trial received injections of ADI-PEG20 while 50 percent received a placebo for two years. Results from the study show that the ADI-PEG20 quadrupled 3-year survival rates. Patients who received ADI-PEG-20 and chemotherapy survived an average of 9.3 months vs the placebo group that survived an average of 7.7 months. Researchers claim that the ADI-PEG20 increased the median overall survival of 1.6 months. It also quadrupled survival at 36 months compared to the placebo plus chemotherapy. There were no safety issues with the ADI-PEG20 treatment, and it was well tolerated by patients.

This treatment has the real potential to change lives. One factory worker who is in the study was exposed to asbestos in the 1970s while working in a boiler room. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018 and was given only four months to live. He has been involved with the study for two years now.

Clinical trials are an important part of the cancer treatment process. Without them, we would not have standard treatments for different cancers that we have today. Thanks to cancer research like this, people with hard-to-treat cancers are living longer and healthier lives. Maybe one day, thanks to cancer research, mesothelioma will be a highly treatable and curable cancer.

Andrew Gregory, “Drug offers ‘wonderful’ breakthrough in treatment of asbestos-linked cancer” The Guardian (February 15, 2024). [Link]
Dennis Thompson, “New Treatment Brings Hope for Rare, Deadly Cancer Linked to Asbestos” U.S. News (February 15, 2024). [Link]
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