Scottish researchers at the University of Stratthclyde in Glasgow have recently found a new way of delivering chemotherapy to patients suffering from pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly disease that affects the mesothelium, or the lining of organs such as the lungs, abdominal organs, and heart. In the case of pleural mesothelioma, the disease affects the pleura, the lining of the lungs. This is the most common form of mesothelioma.
The team, led by Dr. Chris Carter along with Professor Alex Mullen and Dr. Valeria Ferro, discovered that a common chemotherapy drug is more effective in pleural mesothelioma patients when delivered in a vaporized state.
The drug, Cisplatin, is commonly administered intravenously over the course of several hours. The research team in Scotland discovered that if Cisplatin is administered through an inhaler instead, it begins to work more quickly and has a greater effect on the cancerous tissues in the lungs.
Inhaled chemotherapy is also of greater benefit to pleural mesothelioma patients because it targets only the cancerous cells in the lungs, while injected chemotherapy affects any healthy cells it comes into contact with.
The hope is that this new chemotherapy delivery method will reduce the devastating side effects of traditional chemotherapy. Cisplatin side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, and dehydration, among others. In many cases, Cisplatin and other chemotherapy drugs produce such severe symptoms that they may hinder treatment and adversely affect the patient’s overall health.
More research into this inhaled chemotherapy delivery method is needed, but the hope is that it will lessen the impact of chemotherapy side effects. It is also hoped that this discovery will lead to other less invasive drug delivery systems for other types of mesothelioma and asbestos diseases.