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FDA approves first mesothelioma treatment in 15 years

Louisville residents should know that mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer often found in those who have been exposed to asbestos over a long period of time. In May of 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved of the first new treatment for mesothelioma in 15 years.

Prior to this, many patients who could not get surgery could only receive palliative care (medical care treating the symptoms, not the cause) as an alternative. Representatives of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation expressed their hope that the new treatment provides one additional option for these patients.

The treatment involves a device called the NovoTTF-100L System. Developed by Novocure and approved under the FDA's Humanitarian Device Exemption, the NovoTTF-100L is able to stop mesothelioma tumors from dividing. It accomplishes this through the use of electric fields.

Novocure had developed another device that was approved by the FDA back in 2011. This other device, called Optune, is used to treat a form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma.

Mesothelioma is just one of several asbestos-related illnesses. Others include asbestosis and lung cancer. Mesothelioma patients (or their families, if patients die) may be able to seek compensation if there is proof that negligence on the part of, say, an employer or a doctor led to the development of the cancer. This is where it might be a good idea to hire a lawyer.

The lawyer may, in turn, hire investigators to obtain proof of negligence. For example, an employer may have known about asbestos exposure in the workplace and failed to do anything about it. Medical professionals may come in to figure out the extent of the condition and the financial impact it will continue to have. The attorney may then negotiate for a settlement with the other side, litigating as a last resort.

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