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PARP Inhibitors Could Soon Help Mesothelioma Patients

Published: August 4, 2023

There is a new treatment involving PARP inhibitors that could potentially benefit mesothelioma patients. PARP stands for Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. PARP is typically involved in repairing damaged DNA in cells. It can be useful against side effects from chemotherapy by repairing damaged tumor cells, which helps tumors to continue growing. The goal would be to block PARP in patients with thoracic cancers. This would allow the body to stop tumor cell growth.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and hard to treat cancer. It is cancer of the mesothelium, which is a membrane that covers the lungs (pleura), abdomen (peritoneum), heart (pericardium), and testicles (tunica vaginalis testis). Mesothelioma is mainly caused by asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral made up of microscopic fibers that are easily inhaled. Once disturbed, the fibers become airborne, leading to people inhaling and ingesting them. The fibers become lodged in human tissue, where they cannot be broken down or removed. Over time, the fibers cause DNA changes and inflammation in cells, turning the normal cells into cancer cells. It is hard to treat because it takes a long time for symptoms to develop once exposed to asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma symptoms are also common in other illnesses, so it can be hard to diagnose mesothelioma in early stages.

Treatment for mesothelioma is dependent on multiple factors including the stage of the cancer, location of tumors, and health of the patient. The most common treatment for mesothelioma patients is a combination of radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. Other treatments including immunotherapy and targeted therapy are also useful for treating mesothelioma. Scientists are now looking at PARP inhibitors alongside chemotherapy and immunotherapy. There are current PARP inhibitor clinical trials that are ongoing looking at the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.

PARP inhibitors may one day be available to treat mesothelioma. Researchers have found that the best option utilizing this treatment is the combination of PARP inhibitors and immunotherapy. PARP inhibitors have already been approved for certain cancers including prostate, ovarian, breast, and pancreatic. Some problems with PARP inhibitors include resistance to the treatment and side effects. Scientists are trying to find ways to get around these challenges and have possibly found a solution in nanomedicine. Researchers are also looking at the study of genes of cancer tumors so the best treatments are picked for each individual patient. This is why clinical trials are so important. They help find the best available treatments for different individuals.

Alessandro Parisi et al., “Current Evidence and Future Perspectives about the Role of PARP Inhibitors in the Treatment of Thoracic Cancers” Onco Targets Therapy (2023). [Link]
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