From the blog

Ptac2S Potentially More Effective Than Cisplatin When Fighting Mesothelioma

Published: November 9, 2016

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare, aggressive asbestos –related cancer that has a poor survival rate due to the fact that the cancer is hard to detect early, and once detected, has usually spread and is hard to control. Surgery is typically an effective option for removing cancerous cells, but in some cases, surgery can either be ineffective, or a non-option for someone suffering with MPM.

If surgery is not an option for someone suffering with MPM, then a typical chemotherapy treatment is cisplatin. Cisplatin is a platinum-based treatment and known as the “penicillin of cancer” because of its widespread use.  Even though other chemotherapies have been developed more recently, cisplatin is still used regularly and often as part of a combination of a chemotherapy regime.

When cisplatin is administered, it attaches to the fastest growing cells (that are theoretically carcinogenic) to prevent replication.  When fighting mesothelioma, cisplatin is typically administered in conjunction with other medicines such as Alimta. Administering cisplatin with other drugs has led to a higher response rate, but overall response rates for those using cisplatin remain low; only about 40%. Survival is typically one year.

The side effects of cisplatin can be debilitating. While the chemotherapy drug is intended to target the cancerous cells, cisplatin can also negatively affect the healthy cells as well. Some of the most common side effects of cisplatin include kidney damage, nerve damage, and severe nausea.  The combination of low response rates, side effects, and low survival rates have pushed scientists and researchers to produce an alternative treatment that can be more effective.

An experimental platinum drug known as Ptac2S shows promise in fighting MPM based upon a study called In Vitro and In Vivo Antitumor Activity of [Pt(O,O′-acac)(γ-acac)(DMS)] in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

In this study, more focus was placed on having a type of treatment that wasn’t as toxic and was also more therapeutic.  Using animal models that contained human MPM cells, Ptac2S was administered and compared to animal models that received cisplatin treatments. The results showed that Ptac2S was 12 times more effective in destroying cancerous cells than cisplatin because it hindered the cell’s ability to produce enough energy to survive.  Ptac2S was also found to not attack and affect DNA the way that cisplatin does, so cancer cells are less likely to build up a tolerance. While further pharmacological testing is needed, scientists and researchers are excited about the positive results of this potentially new therapeutic treatment that could have a huge impact on the overall survival of those suffering from mesothelioma.



Antonella Muscella , Carla Vetrugno, Luca Giulio Cossa, Giovanna Antonaci, Francesco De Nuccio, Sandra Angelica De Pascali, Francesco Paolo Fanizzi, Santo Marsigliante, “In Vitro and In Vivo Antitumor Activity of [Pt(O,O′-acac)(γ-acac)(DMS)] in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma,”  PLoS One (November 2, 2016) [Link]

Cisplatin, The Penicillin of Cancer [Link]

Joana Fernandes, PhD, “Preclinical Study Supports Platinum Treatment, Ptac2S, as Promising MPM Therapy,” Mesothelioma Research News (November 7, 2016). [Link]


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