Immunotherapy and Gold Nanoparticles May Be Promising Mesothelioma Treatments

New research is showing that immunotherapy and chemo-carrying gold nanoparticles may be promising mesothelioma treatments.

Italian researchers have found some early success using gold nanoparticles to deliver chemotherapy medication for mesothelioma. Researchers tested their method on pleural mesothelioma cells in a lab.

The gold nanoparticles were designed with a specific antibody targeted to the cells. Researchers then loaded the nanoparticles with the chemotherapy drug Alimta, and observed the effect on the cells.

Researchers found that the chemo-delivering gold nanoparticles were more effective than the standard chemotherapy. The method has yet to be tested on humans, and more research needs to be done.

Gold nanoparticles are not toxic to cells, and they’re so small, the immune system ignores them. They can be designed with certain antibodies that encourage cancer cells to absorb them. This would allow the nanoparticles to deliver chemotherapy while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

Researchers are hoping that the gold nanoparticles won’t cause serious side effects, but the technology is still in very early development. There may be risks to patients that researchers are not yet aware of.

One potential problem is that the nanoparticles may widen gaps in blood vessels, which makes it easier for cancer cells to enter the bloodstream and progress at a faster pace.

Other studies from the Netherlands and France have found that patients with pleural mesothelioma can benefit significantly from immunotherapy combination.

In phase II studies, the combination of Yervoy and Opdivo created a synergy that slowed or stopped tumor growth after standard chemotherapy had failed. Both drugs work in similar ways, but they target different proteins found in several cancers. These proteins restrict the body’s immune system, allowing the tumor to grow.

Negating these proteins would allow the immune system to better recognize the tumor cells.

Individually, both of these immunotherapy drugs have shown effectiveness in mesothelioma treatment. When used together, they were more effective.