While the fight for new treatments and potentially cures for malignant mesothelioma continues, there have been a number of recent studies and reports which have suggested that there is good reason to be optimistic in the new year.
Keytruda & Tremelimumab
Possibly the most exciting advancement in mesothelioma treatment is the rise of immunotherapy drugs such as pembrolizumab, better known as Keytruda.
The drug has not yet been approved for use with mesothelioma, but tests have been encouraging and it has been successful in treating other cancers.
We recently wrote a blog post about how former US president Jimmy Carter attributed his recovery from melanoma cancer to the drug.
Keytruda works by blocking the protein PD-1 which is expressed by 40% of mesothelioma tumours, and in a recent Canadian trial it had a 76% success rate.
Tremelimumab is a similar immunotherapy drug which targets the CTLA-4 protein receptor, and is proceeding well in tests, with a view to being offered to patients who fail to respond to chemotherapy.
New Approaches To Surgery
Studies in 2015 have started to change the way doctors thing about mesothelioma surgery.
In particular, there is a shift toward the belief that surgery which preserves the lung should be the preferred method.
While removing the lung had previously been the norm there is now a suggestion that this actually doesn’t serve to improve the patient’s survival time, and can actually sometimes lead to further complications.
Doctors in Canada have also experimented with combining traditional mesothelioma surgery with intense radiation therapy and have had promising results.
New Delivery Method For Alimta
Studies in 2015 also found that Alimta, the most popular drug used in mesothelioma chemotherapy, has been found to be more effective when administered with a fat-based coating around the molecules.
This allows more of the drug to access the actual tumours, while minimising the damage caused to the healthy cells and reducing side effects.
2015 saw the release of a new blood test for mesothelioma which promises to offer a more accurate and earlier diagnosis.
The test is still being tested but combines a traditional test for soluble mesothelin-related proteins (SMRPs) with addition biomarkers.
On the whole there is good reason to be optimistic heading into 2016, with plenty of research being done into the field of mesothelioma with the outlook being more positive than it ever has been.
As always, if you require any help or guidance regarding mesothelioma or any other asbestos related illnesses, feel free to call our free helpline on 0800 088 7396, or download our free guide for further information.Read More
We acted for Mr S who developed asbestosis following his exposure to harmful levels of asbestos during the course of his employment with a number of Defendants.
Sadly Mr S died in December 2013 as a result of this condition.
Mr S was a Carpenter by trade and between 1951 and 1970 was employed for varying periods of time by a number of Defendants including John Laing Plc, Sir Alfred McAlpine and Nott Brodie & Co.
Mr S was exposed whilst working in close proximity to laggers who would pour asbestos powder into barrels and mix it with water to create lagging. This activity created large quantities of asbestos which would go everywhere.
In addition to this exposure Mr S also was required to cut asbestos boards with a drill which also generated asbestos dust which he inhaled.
Lastly the Defendant was also required to remove asbestos roofs. Often when he did so the sheets would crumble and break generating asbestos dust which was exposed.
Following Letters of Claim to the identified Defendants disclosure of Witness Statements and medical reports supporting the claim we managed to negotiate settlement in the sum of £58,000.00 for Mr S’s daughter for the claim on his behalf.Read More
Families of those affected by asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and pleural thickening have made a call for better screening to be introduced in an attempt to identify and catch these deadly diseases, thus improving the prognosis. With asbestos-related cancers alone killing more than 4,000 people each year in the UK (and MANY more across the globe) it is expected that 2015 will see a peak, with more cases than ever before diagnosed in a single year. Early detection could play a huge role in decreasing the number of deaths and increasing both the quality and length of life in patients.
Simple Screening Could Extend Lives
The daughter of a joiner who sadly passed away due to mesothelioma earlier this year has commented to the BBC, “It was just a simple x-ray that picked up my dad’s cancer. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to give an X-ray to somebody. (Carrying out screening) within a certain generation, over a certain period of time, would be ample to try and catch it at an early stage. If you catch it at an earlier stage the chemotherapy may shrink the tumour, you may then not get nine to 12 months – you can get up to five years.”
Either X-Ray Or Blood Test Screening
Both an X-Ray or a blood test can diagnose mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer which rarely sees those diagnosed surviving more than 12 months and, with this in mind, it is called that such screening is introduced to help save lives or at the least extend them. With an exciting number of clinical trials currently showing some fantastic promise at improved treatment approaches, such screening could buy many patients the time until new treatments are rolled out which offer the chance of long-term survival.
Visit Your GP At The First Sign Of Symptoms
Whilst it may be some time until routine screening for mesothelioma and other such asbestos-related diseases is introduced across the NHS, it is still advisable that anyone showing the symptoms of the disease (which generally include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, a chronic cough and chest pains) to visit their GP as early as possible, especially if you have a known history of asbestos exposure.
If you’ve ever worked in an industry which could have seen you exposed to asbestos, it’s important that you’re fully aware of the signs given that, as with all cancers, the earlier it’s diagnosed the better the prognosis and long-term outlook.Read More
A new study of more than 14,000 sufferers of mesothelioma who were diagnosed between 1973 and 2009 has shown that surgery still remains to be the cornerstone of treatment and that this approach has a greater survival rate than any other alternatives.
Specialist Industrial Disease Team succeeded in recovering £35,000 for Mr M who developed diffuse pleural thickening as a result of exposure to asbestos during his work as a fitter’s mate when employed by Babcock & Wilcox between 1969 and 1976. He worked mainly at Keadby and Drax Power Stations.
He worked on repair and renewal work stripping off old asbestos lagging from boilers and would end up covered in dust, much of which was asbestos dust. He was never provided with any protection nor warned of the risks. Liability was not disputed.
He has 20% respiratory disability entirely attributable to diffuse pleural thickening and has risks that he may develop asbestosis or mesothelioma or asbestos related lung cancer in later life.
The claim was settled by Doosan Babcock Limited, the successor company, on a full and final settlement basis taking into account the future risks and within 10 months of Mr M contacting us.Read More
A Japanese study published at the end of last year has suggested that mesothelioma can be diagnosed from a microscopic examination of lung fluids alone. The findings were published in an article titled “Pulmonary Pathology: SY22-2 Diagnosis of Mesothelioma by Cytology Using Japanese Criteria” by Kawai, T et al states that, if the right tests are carried out at the right time, a diagnosis of mesothelioma can be made from a sample of excess lung fluid known as a pleural effusion.Read More
The British government has announced that victims of asbestos related disease Mesothelioma are to receive increased compensation under new funding. An enormous £350m has been set aside to for the victims of the aggressive life ending disease. The budget has been predicted to cover the damages costs for sufferers and their dependants for the next decade. Many political individuals have welcomed the decision and some ministers have admitted this was ‘a major breakthrough to finally put an end to injustice’.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that is caused by the exposure to asbestos particles resulting in damage to lungs. Victims of the fatal disease usually have little time to recover with many people losing their battle to the cancer within 9 months of diagnosis. Mesothelioma claims around 2400 lives every year in the UK alone. The forecasts concerning sufferers and deaths related to the cancer are negative, with an increase in mesothelioma cases predicted and a death toll of between 56,000 and 63,000 estimated over the next 30 years.
Such daunting predictions have led to the government further investing into compensation budgets for sufferers. Prior to this announcement, some people were ineligible to make claims because their employers had gone bust or had lost their insurance details. These individuals will now be able to receive compensation according to the government.
Up to now, people who had made claims were only able to receive up to £20,000. However, under the new proposed fund UK claimants will be entitled to a fully deserved 75% of the average settlement paid out in civil action related to mesothelioma. According to the government’s statistics, 900 people are expected to be eligible for mesothelioma claims in 2014 and a further 300 people each year for the next nine years.
The Mesothelioma bill is currently under Parliamentary review and if it is passed in the next few months first payments from the budget will be expected in July 2014. Plenty of people are set to start looking into the process of claiming what they are entitled to. If you are a victim wishing to make a mesothelioma claim or any other asbestos related claims like asbestosis claims or pleural thickening claims, there are experts available here at Asbestos Advice Helpline waiting to offer you assistance with your claims.
Many people find the process of handling asbestos related claims daunting and therefore simply abandon the enquiry. This is why we are here to take the burden off your shoulders and offer you guidance every step of the way throughout your claim. Our specialist services cater for various asbestos related illnesses to ensure all victims receive all the compensation they deserve. For more information regarding our services, please contact us on 08000887396.Read More
The facts and figures around asbestosis and mesothelioma can sometimes be difficult to comprehend. With this in mind, we have put together an infographic about mesothelioma, which shows how the disease affects people in the UK .
If you, or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, make sure that you get in touch with us here at Asbestos Advice Helpline as you could be entitled to claim compensation. For more information, see our mesothelioma page or get in touch with us today.Read More
Here at the Asbestos Advice Helpline we welcome the news that the Health & Safety Executive (the national regulator of workplace safety) has started a 12 week consultation on the Asbestos related Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) which will conclude on 30th September 2013. The consultation follows the recent report ‘Reclaiming Health & Safety For All’ by Professor Lӧfstedt which you can read online. This report makes recommendations for the simplification of regulations that govern the use and management of Asbestos in the workplace.
Currently the legislation relating to Asbestos control is extremely complicated for employers. The clearer regulations that we hope will come after the consultation period will make it easier for employers to understand their obligations to their employee’s safety. In turn this should bring about better training for employees, medical examinations and correctly maintained health records.
For many people these improved regulations for employers will come too late and the damage from Asbestos in their workplace will be done. If your health has been negatively impacted by exposure to asbestos the Asbestos Advice Helpline is here to help you. Our website has lots of helpful information on the various Asbestos related health conditions and also the claims process if you decide to seek compensation.Read More
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and fatal cancer and, unfortunately, thousands of new cases are detected in the UK each year. The disease attacks vigorously, moving from symptom to fatality in a matter of months. Whilst modest advances have been made in the screening and treatment of the disease, in chemotherapy and surgery, nonetheless the prognosis is not good for those who have been exposed to the disease.
Tradespersons are often those most at risk of developing an asbestos-related condition, as the material was used extensively in the building trade before its harmful effects came to light. Builders, laggers, electricians, plumbers and carpenters are some from a long list of those who have had prolonged exposure to asbestos. The tragic fact is that it can take up to sixty years after exposure for mesothelioma to develop, resulting in many thousands of deaths as industry professionals in the past simply did not know the effects.
Due to this long gestation period, we are currently in the midst of the peak time for asbestos deaths, with Cancer Research proclaiming that there are between 1950 and 2250 asbestos deaths per year. This number is set to rise with the peak year being 2015.
Whilst it is little comfort to mesothelioma sufferers and their families, it is at least edifying to note that after this time the number of cases is set to fall to a background level, depending on the level of asbestos exposure still possible in a society which no longer uses the substance but has not removed it from existing structures. For the thousands of people affected, it is worth noting that there are no win no fee compensation schemes in place to help them cope with the financial burden of illness and, sadly, bereavement.
The asbestos advice helpline has laid out a step-by-step example of the claims process to make claiming recompense as simple and easy to understand as possible. The BBC also reports this week that a new scheme has been introduced to protect those suffering the disease who are not able to trace their employers nor their employers’ insurers. Given the rate of new cases, it is unsurprising that new methods must be devised to look after the victims of asbestos.
Professor Robert Souhami , the Executive Director of Policy and Communication at Cancer Research UK, says of the research into the rate of disease contraction, “this study suggests that mesothelioma will be a much rarer disease for the next generation, and it clearly highlights the benefit of preventing cancers by removing specific risk factors such as exposure to asbestos.”
The next few years are set to be record years for outbreaks of the cancer but it is reassuring to note that the next generation will not have to suffer the terrible disease.Read More