If you’re a veteran who has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, finding the best possible treatment of your disease is one of your primary goals. This is more easily said than done with this rare and fatal form of cancer. There is no single right answer when it comes to mesothelioma, as different tumors have different genetic and cellular profiles. At this point the only way to truly tell whether a treatment approach will work is by actually administering it to the patient and then waiting to see the results, but a new method designed by researchers from the UCLA Johnson Comprehensive Cancer Center will significantly speed that process up without forcing the patient to endure either rising and falling hopes or adverse side effects of taxing treatment protocols.
The new technology, which will specifically benefit those diagnosed with rare forms of cancer like malignant mesothelioma, creates miniature tumors called “organoids” from cells extracted surgically from the patients’ actual tumors. These cells are grown in the lab and become miniature versions of the tumors themselves, and mesothelioma physicians can then order a variety of treatments to be tested on them to determine which is the most effective. The process of testing drugs o the organoids takes approximately two weeks, delivering answers without having to put the patient through any unnecessary or ineffective treatments.
Speaking of the discovery, Alice Soragni, a scientist at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and study senior author wrote, “We always focus on how we need new and better drugs to treat cancer. While that’s true, we also have many drugs currently available — for most of them, we just haven’t been able to figure out who is going to respond to which ones. We obtain cancer cells directly from surgery and that same day we can seed them to generate tumor organoids. We created a miniaturized system that allows the setup of hundreds of wells for testing with minimal manipulation. This could become a powerful tool to help guide therapies for people who really have no known treatment options left.”
Though this technology is not yet available to those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are hopes that it will become available soon. In the meantime, if you are a veteran and you need assistance with diagnosis, treatment or anything else in your mesothelioma journey, contact us today at 1-800-726-7245.