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Asbestos-related disease lawyer welcomes significant treatment breakthrough for mesothelioma patients

The development of a new drug to treat mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer, has been hailed by scientists as a significant breakthrough. 

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the lining of the lung and is caused by exposure to asbestos. Symptoms vary depending on the type of mesothelioma but often include: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen 
  • Persistent cough
  • Weight loss 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Fatigue. 


Despite there being a variety of diagnostic tests, mesothelioma is often diagnosed late due to how it presents and the disease is sadly, life limiting. 

The Importance of Research and Clinical Trials for the treatment of mesothelioma

Historically, the only first line treatment for mesothelioma was chemotherapy with pemetrexed and carboplatin and the availability of immunotherapy was very limited and often only available through a clinical trial, if you were suitable or by using private funds.

Thankfully, the clinical trial CheckMate-743 paved the way in 2022 for a new first line immunotherapy treatment of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab being available on the NHS. It was a significant change as it widely increased availability and meant that a higher proportion of patients could benefit from immunotherapy.

The availability of immunotherapy has been a welcome development for people living with mesothelioma and the treatment utilises the immune system to fight the cancer. As immunotherapy targets the immune system, rather than the cells, people often report that the side effects are milder than chemotherapy. 

The recently published ATOMIC clinical trial is a pivotal moment for the development of treatment for mesothelioma patients. The trial focused on whether the arginine-depleting agent pegargiminase, combined with standard chemotherapy, would impact the survival rates for patients with a type of pleural mesothelioma. It is no wonder that the drug has been hailed by scientists as a big breakthrough, as the new drug quadrupled the previous three-year survival rates. 

Clinical trials offer a unique and crucial opportunity for patients to access treatment, which may otherwise not be possible. Whilst these trials are by their nature, a trial, they offer invaluable hope and the opportunity for an improved quality of life to individuals with mesothelioma as well as their families. 

Some of our clients have responded incredibly well when involved in clinical trials. Of particular note, is the impact on life expectancy for those clients who have partaken in trials. One particular client comes to mind as he lived for over 6 years from the date he was diagnosed. 

Clients involved in trials have also notably been able to return to activities such as dog walking or spending time with family and loved ones. One client in particular was able to achieve their dream of working on their small holding alongside their family; something which would not have been possible but for his involvement with numerous clinical trials and the treatment he received. 

This groundbreaking result for patients and families living with mesothelioma helps support the importance of future trials in mesothelioma and provides much-needed hope for prognosis and treatment. 

Other clinical trials, such as Hit-meso and Mitope, are also in progress and a new trial, Evolve, has recently started at the Royal Papworth and Addenbrooke’s Hospitals in Cambridge and is opening at the end of the month in Leicester too. 

Given the success of the ATOMIC trial, the results of these other trials are awaited with further hope and anticipation for how treatment may continue to develop for people living with mesothelioma. 

Further information in relation to clinical trials can be found at 

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