Friday, March 28, 2014

Laparoscopic Cytoreductive Surgery Followed by HIPEC Offers Patients with Peritoneal Mesothelioma Shorter Recovery Time with Fewer Complications

The standard treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma patients eligible for surgery is cytoreductive surgery (CRS) followed immediately by heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). 

Traditional surgery involves a large incision made in the abdomen in order to remove as much cancer as possible. A study published in the European Journal of Surgical Oncology shows that patients suffering from peritoneal surface malignancy from mesothelioma and other cancers may benefit from less invasive laparoscopic surgical procedures. Laparoscopic procedures require a much smaller incision than traditional surgery and utilize a fiber optic camera so that surgeons may perform the procedure viewing a monitor.

Researchers at the Hospices Civils de Lyon in France compared two groups of patients who underwent CRS followed by HIPEC. Patients in the first group underwent the laparoscopic CRS procedure and experienced far fewer complications and spent an average of a week less in the hospital than those in the second group who underwent the more traditional CRS procedures. Another benefit of the laparoscopic approach is reduced pain due to smaller incision and less hemorrhaging. All participants in the study were diagnosed with early stage disease which had not spread beyond the peritoneum.

Fewer complications, shorter recovery time and reduced pain all contribute to better quality of life, which is of great value to any cancer or surgical patient. Many hospitals and surgical centers now offer the minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure for a wide range of ailments. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients should speak to their surgeon to find out if laparoscopic surgery is an option for them.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Michael Johnson and Monster Media Bike Team Dedicate Their Win to Mesothelioma Patient Ronald Hill

Michael Johnson is a fierce and passionate competitor. For many years, he has been one of the most successful and respected bike racers in southern California. Mike learned the dedication and competitiveness necessary to excel in his sport from his Dad, John Johnson. A veteran of the U.S. Marines, John Johnson worked hard during the week as a plumber and then, on the weekends, unleashed his competitive fury in the grueling sport of desert motorcycle racing.

In 2011, John Johnson was forced to compete against a much more serious opponent—mesothelioma cancer. Mike took on his Dad’s battle with cancer as if it was his own. He literally fought for his Dad, and was a constant source of strength and motivation for John to keep fighting. Sadly, John lost his fight against mesothelioma in January 2012.

Michael Johnson, however, has not stopped fighting mesothelioma. Mike and his family have been fighting to improve the diagnosis and treatment of veterans suffering from service-related asbestos illness. They have also worked to raise public awareness of mesothelioma and the need for research. Mike has also gone to great lengths to assist families of mesothelioma sufferers, passing along some of the tough lessons he learned from his Dad’s battle that will help them in their fight against the disease.

For 2014, Mike and his bike racing team, Monster Media Racing, have committed to the following mission: “race together as a unified team, race hard, go for the win, have fun, and help raise awareness in the fight against mesothelioma.” Last weekend, Mike and the team made huge progress toward completing this mission when Mike won the three-day Tour De Murrieta bike race in Murrieta, California. 

While claiming this tremendous personal victory, Mike took the occasion to continue his personal fight against mesothelioma, dedicating the win to Ronald Hill, a career pipefitter, who was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma:

Mr. Ron Hill
“I had the pleasure of meeting Ron and his lovely family this past month. I am extremely honored to be in a position, as the son of meso patient myself, to offer my help and support to Ron. He has a long and tough road ahead, but he’s a great man who is blessed with a very supportive and smart family. Monster Media Racing is here for you sir.”

We congratulate Michael Johnson and Monster Media Racing on their victory and wish them continued success in winning races and raising awareness for mesothelioma sufferers throughout the 2014 season.

Click here to see Michael Johnson’s full race report and dedication.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Massachusetts General Hospital Develops Potential Vaccine for Mesothelioma and Ovarian Cancers

In the hopes of creating a potential vaccine for mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have engineered a protein which has shown prolonged survival in animal models with both types of cancer.

Researchers combined a protein programmed to target an antibody fragment that targets mesothelin, with a protein from tuberculosis bacteria that stimulates the activity of dendritic, or immune cells. The researchers activated the dendritic cells to target tumor cells while remaining inside the patient's body. Typically approaches to developing cancer vaccines using these types of immune cells require extracting cells from the patient’s body, treating them with the vaccination agent, and returning them into the body.

"Many patients with advanced cancers don't have enough functioning immune cells to be harvested to make a vaccine, but our protein can be made in unlimited amounts to work with the immune cells patients do have," explains study co-author Jeffrey Gelfand, MD, senior scientist at the MGH Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center. "We have created a potentially much less expensive approach to making a therapeutic cancer vaccine that, while targeting a single tumor antigen, generates an immune response against multiple antigens.”

The mesothelin-targeting protein binds to mesothelin cells, activates the dendritic cells, and enhances the cells' processing and presentation of several different tumor antigens, inducing a number of T-cell-based immune responses. Treatment with the protein significantly slowed tumor growth and extended survival in mouse models of both tumors.

Mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, and pancreatic cancer all have the potential to be treated with a mesothelin targeting vaccine. "Immunotherapy is generally nontoxic, so this vaccine has the potential of safely extending survival and reducing the effects of these tumors, possibly even cutting the risk of recurrence.”

The MGH team just received a two-year grant from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program to continue their research.  Source