Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare, aggressive cancer of the mesothelium, the tissue that lines the lungs and other internal organs. It is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers and is most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 65. The prognosis for this type of cancer is generally poor, with a median survival time of only 12 to 21 months.
However, in recent years, advances in medical technology have led to significant improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of MPM, offering new hope to patients and their families.
One of the most promising new treatments for MPM is immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs to boost the immune system to help it fight cancer. It can be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. Several types of immunotherapy drugs have been approved to treat MPM, including ipilimumab, nivolumab, and atezolizumab. These drugs can help to slow the progression of the disease and prolong survival in some patients.
Another promising treatment for MPM is photodynamic therapy. This type of therapy uses light to activate a photosensitizing agent, which is injected into the tumor. The light activates the agent, which then destroys the cancer cells. Photodynamic therapy is still in the early stages of research but it appears to be effective in treating MPM.
Finally, targeted therapy is another treatment option for MPM. This type of therapy uses drugs specifically designed to target the genetic changes in cancer cells that cause them to grow and spread. Several targeted therapies have been approved to treat MPM, including trabectedin, pemetrexed, and bevacizumab. These drugs can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.
The development of new treatments for MPM has brought renewed hope to patients and their families. While the prognosis for MPM is still poor, these treatments can help to slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life for patients. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with MPM, talk to your doctor about the latest treatments and see if they are right for you.