A new medication has shown to be safe for mesothelioma patients in advanced stages. This could give patients more treatment options in Illinois. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a cancer that develops in the membranes of the lungs. Patients typically live 12 months after diagnosis, but there are hopes that this medication will help them live beyond that.

During the Phase II clinical trial, 27 patients who previously had chemotherapy participated in chemoperfusion treatment. The disease continued to progress in each patient prior to getting this treatment. Some patients had radiation therapy and pleurectomy.

Transarterial chemoperfusion administers a high concentration of drugs to the infected tissues to increase treatment outcome with fewer side-effects. Instead of being given intravenously, the radiologists inject the patient in the mammary artery with one-third of the chemotherapy treatment, which includes methotrexate, cisplatin and gemcitabine. The rest of the drug is injected into the descending aorta. The outpatient treatment commonly takes one hour plus one hour of recovery.

The outcome of the study showed the control rate of the cancer to be 70.3% and an average 8.5-month survival rate after treatment. The study had a complication rate of 1.4%, and patients only showed minor side effects. Surgery is commonly the only effective way to treat advanced MPM, but only 10% to 20% of patients qualify for surgery, and the complication rates after surgery can be higher.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is rare, but researchers hope to expand the study to cancer centers with higher numbers of MPM patients. They plan to increase the dosage and experiment with other drug combinations to give the study more flexibility.

Patients diagnosed with MPM could be entitled to compensation if they worked in industries that exposed them to asbestos. An attorney might be able to help a victim make a case for a personal injury claim.