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Lung Cancer Trial Targets Asbestos-Related Disease

Chemo-radiation therapy looks to kill cells on organ's surface, spare surrounding tissue

MONDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients are being recruited for a clinical trial of a new targeted radiation and chemotherapy protocol for pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung's lining that's almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.

Currently, the standard treatment is to remove the affected lung.

"Current surgical and chemotherapy treatments of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma are unsatisfactory and have not been shown to significantly prolong survival. In this study, we will investigate whether a combination of chemotherapy and radiation targeted directly at the lung's lining can improve outcomes while avoiding surgery," principal investigator Dr. Robert Taub, director of the Mesothelioma Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, said in a news release.

"The trial is also significant, because our center is the only one nationwide that is offering this experimental therapy to treat pleural mesothelioma," Taub said.

It's expected the targeted radiation will kill cancer cells on the surface of the lung while sparing other parts of the lung and surrounding vital tissues.

Patients aged 18 and older who have not had recent radiation therapy or chemotherapy and have not received prior Alimta chemotherapy will be considered for the study.

Patients enrolled in the study will receive several rounds of targeted chemotherapy using the drugs cisplatin and doxorubicin via surgically implanted catheters. Some patients will be randomly selected to receive additional systemic (intravenous) chemotherapy using the drugs cisplatin and pemetrexed. All patients will receive targeted radiotherapy using the P-32 radioisotope. Patients may elect to receive additional surgical treatment, including removal of the affected lung lining or lung.

For more about the study, call 212-305-6837.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about malignant mesothelioma.

SOURCE: New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, news release, June 26, 2008

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