Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive, and deadly form of cancer that affects the membranes of the lungs, abdomen, and heart. This type of cancer has a very poor prognosis and the available treatment options are only used to extend the lifespan and improve the life quality of affected individuals.
Ongoing treatment research and clinical trials are the only hope for a future cure.
Interestingly, preliminary tests of a potential new treatment for asbestos cancer has sparked a lot of excitement after yielding some promising results.
The tests which were carried out at the University Of Hawaii Cancer Center found that FTY720 could be a possible mesothelioma treatment.
FTY720, also known as fingolimod, is an immunosuppressant drug/agent approved for the treatment of relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. Although its potential as a new therapy in malignant mesothelioma has not yet been evaluated, the drug has impressively shown incredible anti-tumor activity on various forms of cancers. Further evaluations are being carried out to test its potential in the treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.
FTY720 (Fingolimod, Gilenya®) is an FDA-approved immunosuppressant currently used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
FTY720 and Mesothelioma Treatment
During the initial tests, a comprehensive evaluation of cell viability and anchorage-independent growth was performed in a full panel consisting of malignant mesothelioma cell lines as well as Human Mesothelial Cells upon the FTY720 treatment. This test was carried out to assess the in vitro antitumor efficacy of FTY720.
The action of the FTY720 agent was further evaluated by measuring the action of the phosphatase 2A (PP2A), a major target for the agent.
By immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting, the researchers also evaluated the binding of the endogenous inhibitor SET to phosphatase 2A in the presence of FTY720. In the next step, the signaling and activation of Programmed Cell Death were evaluated by immunoblotting and folo cytometry.
After testing the treatment on mice, the researchers found that the FTY720 effectively suppressed the malignant mesothelioma cells viability and anchorage-independent growth without affecting the normal Human Mesothelial cells in any way.
The agent was also found to successfully inhibit the phosphatase activity of the PP2A displacement of SET protein which seemed to be overexpressed in malignant mesothelioma, unlike the HM cells.
The treatment was also found to promote Bcl-2 and AKT dephosphorylation which lead to the induction of programmed cell death.
Further, the administration of the FTY720 agent in in-vivo effectively and greatly reduced the burden in tested mice without causing toxicity.
Because toxicity is one of the main reasons why mesothelioma patients fail to see satisfying or rather long-term results from the standard chemotherapy sessions, the researchers pointed out that if they received enough of the FTY720 agents, they could hopefully permanently destroy the tumors without any side-effects whatsoever.
FTY720 selectively suppresses MM cell viability and anchorage–independent growth without affecting normal mesothelial cells.
Could FTY720 Possibly be a New Mesothelioma Therapy?
Data from these tests are a clear indication that the FTY720 drug could be a potential therapeutic drug for treating malignant mesothelioma. Although it has not yet approved by the FDA for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, the future is incredibly bright.
These tests are only baby steps towards a bigger, formal testing of the drug. Maybe in a few years and with further comprehensive tests, it could be the huge breakthrough that many mesothelioma researchers and patients have been waiting for. The sky is the limit!