Many pleural mesothelioma patients undergo immunotherapy, but some will relapse. Louisville residents should know that there is a drug called vorinostat that may help relapsed patients. This is according to a study from Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center. Vorinostat is an inhibitor of the enzyme histone deacetylase and can change protein expression in cells as well as boost the immune system.

Researchers explain that many patients relapse because their body no longer reacts to immune checkpoint inhibitors, which also stimulate the immune system. The study found that vorinostat, when combined with these ICIs, provided pleural mesothelioma patients with better results. Thirty-three lung cancer patients had the combination tested on them after a successful test was done with mice.

About 67% of patients showed a partial response to the treatment while roughly a third experienced negative symptoms like fatigue, nausea and vomiting. In 16 patients, the tumor stopped growing altogether. Those with a higher T-cell count saw the most favorable results.

Vorinostat alone is ineffective, as a 2011 study showed, but this newer study indicates that the drug can make ICIs more effective. The ICI used in this test was Keytruda. Now, researchers are planning a phase 2 trial of Keytruda and vorinostat that may help establish them as part of a first-line treatment for mesothelioma.

Many mesothelioma patients develop their condition through exposure to asbestos. Some may have used products containing asbestos over a long period of time while others may have been exposed to it while working in an old building. Mesothelioma patients may be able to file a claim against the maker of the product or the employer, whatever the case may be, and be reimbursed for medical expenses, pain and suffering and more. They may find representation from a lawyer to be helpful, especially during negotiations.