Multimodal Therapies

The unfortunate reality is that there is currently no cure for mesothelioma—not a standalone therapy, combination of therapies, diets and other behavioral changes or the powers of prayer and positive thinking. However, doctors specializing in mesothelioma treatment frequently treat a patient with a combination of therapies, known as multimodal treatment, for very important reasons:

  • Due to the relative lack of effectiveness of single-modality treatment in prolonging patient survival, the multimodal combination of treatments holds more promise for survival of malignant mesothelioma patients.
  • The palliative—pain relief and management—impact of multimodal treatment, depending on a number of factors, has been shown to be effective in many cases.

Several types of mesothelioma treatment are in experimental stages. They include the following mesothelioma therapies:

Immunotherapy

Also referred to as biological therapy, immunotherapy is based on the theory that it is possible to mobilize the body’s own immune defenses against cancerous cells. Another name that often applies to this therapy is biological response modifiers (BRMs). Read more

Photodynamic

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment method often used in combination with other treatments such as drugs or surgery. PDT uses light to kill cancerous cells. As is true with many of the approaches to slowing the growth of cancers or finding a cure, photodynamic therapy is still in an experimental stage for treatment of mesothelioma. Read more

Angiogenesis

Cancer cells, like other cells in the human body, rely for their growth on a rich supply of blood. They must be surrounded by an effective network of capillaries and larger blood vessels that nourish the cells. The medical term for the process of developing this network is angiogenesis.

Unfortunately, fast-growing cancers are highly efficient at promoting angiogenesis:

  • They produce angiogenesis promoters that create capillaries and a network of blood vessels around the tumor.
  • Cancerous tumors are thus nourished with an increasing supply of oxygen-rich blood — growing and spreading quickly or metastasizing.

Understanding that angiogenesis is fundamental to the process of how tumors grow and metastasize, medical researchers started to investigate how they could slow down, stop or reduce angiogenesis. If they could do this, they reckoned, they could starve the tumor to death, or at least slow its growth significantly. The National Cancer Institute has created a teaching tool to better understand angiogenesis.