Data Supports Further Investigation of Mesothelioma Virotherapy

Oncolytics Biotech presented data that indicates malignant mesothelioma cells are sensitive to certain viruses. Their presentation titled “Combination Immunotherapy and Oncolytics Virotherapy for the Treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma” discussed in vitro data showing mesothelioma cells could be suitable targets for reoviruses which could then attack and compromise them.

The company currently has 7 ongoing phase I and phase II trials though none are currently for mesothelioma patients. Reoviruses, which the company is investigating, are generally gastrointestinal infections with the most common form being the rotavirus.

The goal of virotherapy is to isolate and reprogram viruses to only attack cancerous cells. It is still a relatively undeveloped field within cancer research but progress is being made.

Piroxicam and Cisplatin Show Promise Against Mesothelioma Cells

Piroxicam, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), has shown anti-tumoral activity which is amplified when combined with Cisplatin.

Researchers used two mesothelioma cell lines and treated cells with piroxicam and cisplatin alone then combined the two treatments.

Cell growth was significantly limited in both lines and treatment with either agent appeared to disrupt cell cycle phase distribution and expression of some regulatory proteins.

Their effects were significantly increased when used as a combination therapy. In one of the cell lines they appeared to create a synergistic effect on apoptosis (likely through the activation of caspase 8,9).

The data suggests that a combination of piroxicam and cisplatin should warrant further investigation because of their effects on apoptosis and cell cycles.

Animal models of mesothelioma

This month’s Journal of Inhalation Technology has a review article on how animals have been invaluable in research on mesothelioma treatment. Scientists have induced pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma in rodents and then running a variety of mechanistic studies. They’ve looked at development of the disease from the time the fibers enter the body and they’ve looked genetric tendencies and their effects on the pathology.

Tour de Force presentation of evidence against asbestos companies

Stunning article (opinion piece) out of The Herald (Scotland). Writer Joan McAlpine lays out the case for mesothelioma patients: the fact that asbestos companies knew of the hazards and continued to produce this hazardous material.

Mesothelioma sufferers already know what is killing them: exposure to asbestos dust. So they know who is to blame: irresponsible employers. The direct link between the insulating material and disease was established in 1960, according to the British Lung Foundation. Yet asbestos remained popular in the UK for two more decades. Its use increased considerably between 1960 and 1975. Workmen bored holes in it, lagged pipes with it and lined walls with it. Later, they demolished buildings full of the stuff, breathing in clouds of deadly dust in the process.”

Grassroots lobbying for mesothelioma patients

In Scotland there is a movement to eliminate a legal loophole in asbestos-exposure cases. The current law gives the most compensation to victims’ families after they die. If the new effort succeeds, people could get larger settlements while they are still alive. The newspaper The Herald reports that “Hugh Henry, the deputy justice minister, is to meet campaigners on mesothelioma, a fatal and increasingly common form of illness caused by the dust, and is expected to tell them he backs their cause.”