Palliative Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma Produces Substantial Treatment Response

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Physicians in Pennsylvania may possibly have found a way to increase the effectiveness of new type of palliative radiotherapy for pleural mesothelioma. Palliative radiotherapy is an important method of treatment to help people with mesothelioma symptoms. It is not expected, however, for doctors to treat mesothelioma with palliative radiotherapy. (

However, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania do think it might be a viable treatment. They tried recently to combine palliative radiotherapy with a new type of gene therapy.; The gene therapy also has an effect on the immune system. Researchers believe the combination therapy can produce a substantial treatment response in a person with mesothelioma, a terminal cancer that affects the lung, heart and intestinal lining. It is almost always contracted by years of exposure to asbestos in a manufacturing or industrial setting.

Immuno-gene Therapy and Palliative Radiotherapy

Immuno-gene therapy utilizes genes to stimulate the immune system against cancers such as mesothelioma. In the new clinical study in Pennsylvania, a 70 year old man suffering from mesothelioma was given immuno-gene therapy. Doctors place interferon-alpha into the area around his lungs. The treatment made his own immune cells produce more interferon. Interferon is capable of boosting the immune system to attack the lethal mesothelioma cells.

But in this case, the treatment had to be stopped early. The patient started to have a fast heartbeat. The mesothelioma tumor also blocked some of the blood flow to his heart. So, his physicians used palliative radiotherapy instead. The man was given 30 Gy of radiation during 10 treatments. Doctors hoped to shrink his tumor to a small degree at least.

Response Better Than Expected

The response of the patient was much better than expected. The man had a CT scan 60 days after he finished his palliative radiotherapy. It showed a major treatment response in the tumor that was treated. But the biggest surprise was that his other tumors started to shrink. These tumors began to shrink even though they were not even in the radiation treatment area. This is known as the abscopal effect.

This is believed to be the first recorded abscopal effect after palliative radiotherapy for mesothelioma. The clinical researchers believe it is due to the fact the patient received immuno-gene therapy first.

There were some complications during the treatment.  First, the esophagus of the patient swelled up significantly after the radiotherapy started. Doctors needed to put a tube into his esophagus to keep it open until the swelling decreased. But doctors believe this new form of treatment still is exciting news for patients who have mesothelioma and cannot have surgery.; It also means they could have a treatment plan available to them that they did not have previously.

About Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive cancers. It attacks the delicate, thin lining in the lungs, heart and abdomen. It is almost always caused by a worker inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers at work. Mesothelioma is usually diagnosed in men older than 50 who worked with products that contain asbestos while working on manufacturing or industrial work. The prognosis for mesothelioma is usually poor, but the above new therapy is offering some degree of hope for patients with asbestos cancers.

A mesothelioma patient can start to show cancer signs between 10 and 50 years after they first are exposed to asbestos. The symptoms the patient has can vary depending upon the specific type of mesothelioma. But early cancer symptoms can be mistaken for less serious illnesses such as flu or even less serious forms of cancer. It is very important for the signs of mesothelioma to be recognized early on for the best possible prognosis.

One way to ensure this is to be examined by a doctor every year if you believe you were ever exposed to asbestos. This can increase the chance that your mesothelioma will be caught early when it is easier to treat.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Mesothelioma

In the vast majority of mesothelioma cases, the disease is caused by the negligence of a company or companies that exposed workers to deadly asbestos. If a person passes away from the disease, the estate of that person may have the right to file a wrongful death action against a former employer that made, used or manufactured products that contain mesothelioma.

A family who wants to file a wrongful mesothelioma death lawsuit should know that the time to file the suit is limited. Every state features a statute of limitations for filing a claim. In many cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the death of the person. Speaking to a licensed mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible will ensure that you will be able to file the wrongful death action on time.

When your loved one dies of mesothelioma, any legal decisions made about the lawsuit need to be made by the representative of the state. This is usually an immediate family member, which could be a spouse or child. But it does not have to be a direct member of the family.

The estate representative is often named in the will of the deceased. This representative also can be referred to as the administrator or executor. If no one is appointed as such before the mesothelioma victim dies, the court will appoint one.

Common estate representatives are the spouse or partner for life; children; parents, grandparents; a close friend; or a personal who was financially dependent on the person who died.

It should be noted that any compensation from the mesothelioma lawsuit goes to the estate and will not go directly to the estate representative. So, payments from any verdict or settlement may be divided among several members of the family.

In some situations, the money that is awarded in the wrongful death lawsuit could be less than what would be in a personal injury claim. The reason for this is a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit has ongoing expenses, which can include medical bills, lost wages and mental and physical pain and suffering.


  • Palliative Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma. (2019). Retrieved from