From the blog

New clinical trial uses cryotherapy to treat mesothelioma

Published: January 13, 2016

The Mayo Clinic exists to provide the latest technology and different treatment options to those suffering from many ailments and diseases. Clinical trials are done to determine new and improved methods to make sure patients are receiving the most effective care. The Rochester, Minnesota, location is currently running several mesothelioma clinical trials, including one using cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy uses lowered temperatures for medical treatments, including both benign and malignant lesions. It can decrease cell survival, inflammation and the growth and reproduction of cells. Extreme temperatures allow the cells to be destroyed entirely. A recent fad known as whole body cryotherapy involves standing in freezing temperatures for several minutes to boost weight loss and slow aging, among other supposed effects.

As a mesothelioma treatment, cryotherapy involves freezing and then removing the tumor. Liquid nitrogen is sprayed onto the tumor and it remains in the patient’s body for two weeks. The delay is to allow the body to fight any cancer cells not initially frozen.

Still in the early stages, researchers are looking at the effects on the body and the immune response. The benefits include it being less toxic than other options, like mesothelioma, with lower chances of a more aggressive surgery after treatment. Other benefits potentially involve saving the lung and allowing easier recovery.

Another clinical trial currently running is Intrapleural Measles Virus Therapy in Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. To infect and kill cancer cells, the researchers are injecting the patients with the measles virus. The goal is to kill the tumor and keep the normal, healthy cells safe.

Because mesothelioma has no cure, scientists are hopeful these treatments will prolong life in patients. Thousands of studies are being done to figure out more effective treatments until a cure is found. The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure.

  • Y. Lee, “What are the cold, hard facts on cryotherapy?” Forbes (Nov. 23, 2015). [Link]
  • Mayo Clinic Staff, “Why choose Mayo Clinic?” Mesothelioma (Oct. 23, 2015). [Link]
  • com, “Doctors try new cryotherapy treatment for mesothelioma patients,” CBS News (Dec. 28, 2015). [Link]
  • Wikipedia, “Cryotherapy,” (Dec. 24, 2015). [Link]
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