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Yondelis May Be New Mesothelioma Treatment Option, Researchers Say

New research suggests that Yondelis, a drug already approved to treat ovarian cancer, may also prove effective for treating the rare cancer mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos and extremely difficult to treat. 

In a study published this month in the medical journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Italian researchers indicate that Yondelis (trabectedin) was able to kill cells from six different mesothelioma cell lines.

Researchers from the University of Vienna say that it could one day potentially be a treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) as well.

The study involved the use of the drug on six malignant pleural mesothelioma cell lines, 13 primary cell cultures from surgical pleural mesothelioma specimens as two non-malignant pleural mesothelioma tissue samples. Researchers found a dose-dependent effect on all malignant pleural mesothelioma cell cultures. The drug also appeared to increase in effectiveness when used with some other mesothelioma treatments.

The study concludes that Yondelis “represents a promising new therapeutic option” for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is only known to be caused by exposure to asbestos and breathing asbestos fibers. It is an especially lethal form of cancer, which is often at a very advanced stage when a diagnosis is made, resulting in a very short life-expectancy for individuals diagnosed with the cancer.

The disease is often the subject of asbestos lawsuits among individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma, involving allegations that manufacturers of various asbestos-containing products failed to take adequate safety measures or warn about the risk of cancer long after exposure to the substance.

More than 600,000 people throughout the United States having filed a cases against more than 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma or other related injuries that were allegedly caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

In addition to claims for workers exposed to asbestos in the course of her employment, in recent years there have been a growing number of secondary exposure mesothelioma cases have been brought on behalf of spouses, children and other family members alleging they developed the disease after breathing asbestos fibers brought home in the hair or on the clothing of individuals who worked directly with the material.

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