Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. is known for providing top-notch legal care in a number of personal injury fields. We care about our clients. Many of our attorneys entered this area of law due to illnesses that occurred in their own families and loved ones.

They know firsthand the irreparable damage that can be caused by the negligence of others. They also know that hope can often be the best medicine.

One of the areas our firms practices in that is the most heartbreaking is when dealing with asbestos-related diseases. These illnesses, which include mesothelioma, have no cures so far.

Medical Breakthroughs Offer Hope

By monitoring our clients’ health and wellbeing and seeking compensation for their injuries, we become aware of the latest breakthroughs in treatment.

When we do, we share that information with our clients.

Clients should discuss any new potential treatments with their doctors. Clients should follow their doctors’ advice when considering treatment options.

Opdivo Clinical Trial for Mesothelioma Treatment

One new mesothelioma treatment possibility is Opdivo or the generic version, nivolumab. Opdivo is an immunotherapy drug used to treat certain types of cancer. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015 for treating certain advanced non-small-cell lung cancers.(1)

A clinical trial of Opdivo is currently recruiting for the treatment of patients with certain types of unresectable pleural mesothelioma. 

One of our clients is being treated with Opdivo. He was genotyped and sequenced for immunotherapy with this drug and is awaiting results from his initial round.

Our client is under the care of David Sugarbaker, M.D., Professor and Chief, Division of General Thoracic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Sugarbaker is a world-renown thoracic surgeon. For decade, he has specialized in the treatment of mesothelioma.

The objective of the clinical trial is to determine how Opdivo works with another immunotherapy drug. The researchers want to determine if Opdivo, when combined with ipilimumab, can benefit patients more than other drug combinations currently being used.

The goal is to increase the overall survival time, the progression-free survival time, or both, for the patients.(2)

Study Showed Improvements in Overall Survival

Other research conducted regarding this potential treatment was discussed at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. Based on that research, Opdivo may offer “a promising disease control rate in patients with relapsing malignant pleural mesothelioma.”(3)

According to Dr. Scherpereel, M.D., Ph.D., of University Hospital of Lille in France, “Moreover, patients from both arms of this study seem to have prolonged median [overall survival] than all previous reports in this setting. Immunotherapy may provide new therapeutic options as second- and third-line treatment for patients [with relapsing MPM].”(4)

Immunotherapy drugs stimulate a person’s immune system. This allows the immune system to target and interfere with the growth and spread of certain cancer cells in the body.(5)

Which cells are targeted depends on the specific drug. Opdivo is in a class of immunotherapy drugs known as PD-1 blocking antibodies. They target the PDL-1 receptor, which is a biomarker for certain cancers, including lung cancer, and boost the immune response to cancer.(6) (7)

The FDA approved Opdivo for treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer after an early study yielded promising results.(8)   

  1. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. FDA News Release. (2015, October 9). FDA expands approved use of Opdivo in advanced lung cancer. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm466413.htm
  2. ClinicalTrials.gov. (2017, October). Study of Nivolumab Combined With Ipilimumab Versus Pemetrexed and Cisplatin or Carboplatin as First Line Therapy in Unresectable Pleural Mesothelioma Patients. (CheckMate743). Retrieved from https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT02899299?term=opdivo+and+yervoy+and+mesothelioma
  3. ASCO Annual Meeting 2017. (2017, June 5). Immune Checkpoint Inhibition Shows Promise in Relapsing Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Retrieved from https://am.asco.org/immune-checkpoint-inhibition-shows-promise-relapsing-malignant-pleural-mesothelioma
  4. Ibid
  5. American Cancer Society. (2015, July 23). What Is Cancer Immunotherapy? Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/immunotherapy/what-is-immunotherapy.html
  6. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. FDA News Release. (2015, October 9). FDA expands approved use of Opdivo in advanced lung cancer. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm466413.htm
  7. The James. The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center. (2017, June 21). First-Line Immunotherapy Treatment Can Improve Survival for Subset of Lung Cancer Patients. Retrieved from https://cancer.osu.edu/news-and-media/news/first-line-immunotherapy-treatment-can-improve-survival-for-subset-of-lung-cancer-patients
  8. Borghaei, H., et al. (2015, October 22). Nivolumab versus Docetaxel in Advanced Nonsquamous Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer. Retrieved from http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1507643#t=article

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