One of the biggest challenges of a mesothelioma diagnosis is learning that the disease is currently considered incurable. The terminal form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos has proven incredibly resistant to chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other treatments that have effectively beaten other malignancies, leaving veterans diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma with little hope. One bright spot has been promising results from innovative drug developers who are investigating different methods of killing cancerous cells. One such drug that has been developed by Atara Biotherapeutics recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA announced Atara’s new drug, ATA2271, for phase 1 clinical investigation. It is a mesothelin targeting CAR T0cell therapy that has shown positive results from laboratory studies. The drug specifically targets solid tumors like those of malignant mesothelioma. According to the company’s global head of Research and Development, Jakob Dupont, “We are pleased the FDA has cleared the IND for ATA2271 for the treatment of advanced mesothelioma. This milestone marks an important moment in the advancement of cell and gene immunotherapy for patients, for the field and for Atara. As the first-ever CAR T therapy leveraging the combination of PD1DNR checkpoint inhibition and 1XX CAR signaling technologies to enter the clinic, we are advancing such a unique CAR T program with the goal of developing transformative therapies for patients with solid tumors.”
Malignant mesothelioma is a particular problem for veterans of America’s armed forces, many of whom were exposed to asbestos during their time in the service. The mineral was specifically requested for inclusion in many military applications because it provides significant insulation and protection from heat and fire. It was only years later that the military learned that it was also carcinogenic, though the companies selling the product were well aware of its dangers. As a result, many veterans have been able to successfully pursue legal action against those asbestos companies.
ATA2271 and other drugs offer victims and their families significant hope for improved treatment. At the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research Virtual Annual Meeting, the drug’s developer revealed that the treatment led to serial cell killing, improvements in functional persistence, less cell exhaustion and better effectiveness when compared with first-generation mesothelin CAR T-cell therapy. The FDA-approved studies will now be conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center by a team led by Roisin E. O’Cearbhaill MD, a medical oncologist.
For information on other promising treatments, studies, and the benefits available to you as a veteran, contact us today at 1-800-726-7245.