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New Mesothelioma Treatment Approved by FDA

November 12, 2020
Home Firm News New Mesothelioma Treatment Approved by FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug therapy for treating mesothelioma which combines the use of two existing drugs.(1) This medical protocol is the first new mesothelioma treatment the FDA has approved in more than a decade.

In announcing its approval the FDA stated that this combination drug therapy “has demonstrated an improvement in overall survival for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.(1) This news is particularly exciting since mesothelioma is almost always fatal. Many patients diagnosed with this disease in its advanced stages often are given very few treatment options.

“We are encouraged by this new FDA approved treatment option for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. No matter how much compensation we secure for our mesothelioma clients, it cannot make up for the quality of life they have lost. If a client’s life may be extended by this new combo treatment , then this is truly good news,” emphasizes Jerry Kristal, Weitz & Luxenberg senior litigator and managing attorney of the firm’s Cherry Hill, N.J. branch office.

FDA Approves Combination Therapy for Treating Mesothelioma

In October 2020, the FDA announced the approval of a combination therapy using two previously FDA approved drugs, Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab), in conjunction with each other.(1) The FDA has approved this new usage as a first line of treatment, where appropriate, for adults diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

This is the first drug combination approved for use in treating mesothelioma in 16 years and only the second FDA-approved “systemic therapy for mesothelioma.” (1) According to the FDA, studies have shown that Opdivo and Yervoy decrease tumor growth when combined. (1)

We hope this new protocol for treating mesothelioma offers mesothelioma patients a more promising outlook.

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that often attacks the lining of the lungs. People develop this devastating disease years after inhaling asbestos fibers. Across the United States, roughly 20,000 people are diagnosed with this cancer each year. (1)

This form of mesothelioma “accounts for most mesothelioma diagnoses, and most patients have an unresectable (unable to be removed with surgery) tumor at time of diagnosis.” The FDA further acknowledged that prognosis for patient overall survival was generally poor with the therapies previously being used to treat mesothelioma. (1)

W&L Supports Mesothelioma Research

Weitz & Luxenberg was founded more than 30 years ago to help our clients diagnosed with the aggressive and devastating cancer, mesothelioma. We have dedicated ourselves to helping people diagnosed with this disease ever since.

One way we do this is by supporting research that we hope makes it possible for our clients to live longer and to restore their quality of life for the time they do have.

Asbestos Disease Awareness Association

Weitz & Luxenberg sponsors the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s annual international asbestos awareness and prevention conference. “With increased awareness, we can build the momentum to find a cure!” says W&L attorney Justin Weitz.

This nonprofit organization for asbestos victims is dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure around the world, in part, by working with individuals and global public health organizations.

Mass General Hospital Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center

W&L has contributed to ongoing research at the Massachusetts General Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard University. We hope that the efforts of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at Mass General Hospital will lead to medical breakthroughs in mesothelioma treatment.

This research is being conducted at the molecular level, and stands at the forefront of the fight against cancer. We are proud to contribute to the VIC’s goal of extending people’s lives and offering hope to them and their families.


Weitz & Luxenberg created iWalk4MESO to increase public awareness of mesothelioma. The event is typically held on Mesothelioma Awareness Day, September 26.

The Walk raises funds for research to treat and hopefully eradicate this disease. Proceeds support the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Weitz & Luxenberg Wins Billions of Dollars for Clients

Weitz & Luxenberg continues to be an advocate for patients suffering from mesothelioma and their families. Since our founding in the 1980s, W&L has helped more than 55,000 families face the many challenges brought on by this disease.

Our goal is to provide justice, through full compensation, allowing our clients who were exposed to asbestos exposure to focus on their health and loved ones.

To that end, we have been awarded more than $8.5 billion dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer.

We continue to support and advocate for medical research to improve treatments and ultimately develop a cure.

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