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packet of books and informational pamphlets on Mesothelioma

Newer Targeted Therapies for Mesothelioma Show Potential

As researchers learn more about the changes in cells that cause cancer, they have developed newer drugs that target these changes. Aptly named “targeted therapies,” these drugs block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules or “molecular targets” that are involved with the progression, growth, and spread of cancer. In addition to developing newer targeted therapies, researchers often revisit drugs that have already been FDA approved to treat certain cancers in order to evaluate their potential effects on other types of cancer.

For example, one of the most prominent targeted therapy drugs for rare and difficult-to-treat cancers such as advanced kidney cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNET), has been studied for the possible treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. The drug is known as Sutent (sunitinib malate).

Newer drugs target mesothelin—a protein found in high levels in mesothelioma cells. The drug anti-mesothelin immunotoxin (SS1P) is being studied by Roche in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and amatuximab (MORAb-009) has received orphan drug designation for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Amatuximab studies are ongoing.

A number of targeted cancer therapies have been approved by FDA to treat specific types of cancer, while others are being studied in clinical trials. Many more are in preclinical testing.


"Amatuximab (MORAb-009) Chimeric Antibody - Mesothelioma Treatment." Morphotek, Inc., 2017. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Kelly, Ronan J., Elad Sharon, Ira Pastan, and Raffit Hassan. "Mesothelin Targeted Agents in Clinical Trials and in Preclinical Development." Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Nowak, Anna K., Michael J. Millward, Jenette Creaney, Roslyn J. Francis, Ian M. Dick, Arman Hasani, Agatha Van Der Schaaf, Amanda Segal, Arthur W. Musk, and Michael J. Byrne. "A Phase II Study of Intermittent Sunitinib Malate as Second-Line Therapy in Progressive Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma." Journal of Thoracic Oncology 7.9 (2012): 1449-456. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

"Study of the Safety and Efficacy of Amatuximab in Combination With Pemetrexed and Cisplatin in Subjects With Unresectable Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM). (ARTEMIS)." U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), 08 Feb. 2017. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

"Sutent." Pfizer Oncology, Feb. 2017. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

"Targeted Cancer Therapies Fact Sheet." National Cancer Institute (NCI). National Institutes of Health (NIH), 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

"What's New in Malignant Mesothelioma Research and Treatment?" American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, Inc., 2017. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Zhao, Xiao-Yan, Babu Subramanyam, Nenad Sarapa, Sven Golfier, and Harald Dinter. "Novel Antibody Therapeutics Targeting Mesothelin In Solid Tumors." Clinical Cancer Drugs. Bentham Science Publishers, Oct. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017