The Importance of Personalized Mesothelioma Care for Veterans

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Veterans sacrificed themselves for their country and deserve to receive the best mesothelioma care possible. Personalized mesothelioma treatment is tailored to a person’s disease location, stage, cell type and genetics. Patients who receive personalized treatment have better outcomes and a higher quality of life.

Genetic testing and treatment have become a focus for specialized mesothelioma centers now that researchers understand the vital role genetics play in mesothelioma development. Traditionally, patients’ treatment plans were determined solely by their disease stage and location.

Today’s targeted therapies and diagnostic tools make mesothelioma treatment more efficient and effective for each patient.

Veterans should work with doctors at the top mesothelioma treatment centers, who have access to the latest genetic information on mesothelioma.

What Is Personalized Mesothelioma Treatment?

Personalized mesothelioma treatment uses the patient’s genetic makeup and immune response biomarkers to determine the best treatment possible. Doctors can run blood tests and identify microscopic clues that indicate whether a specific treatment is likely to be effective. These tests allow doctors to make smarter treatment decisions for their patients.

Testing Mesothelioma Tumor Genetics

Researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital found 10 massively mutated genes and over 2,500 other genetic mutations in 200 pleural mesothelioma tumor samples. Doctors linked these genetic mutations to corresponding successful and unsuccessful therapies, helping them predict what treatments will be effective in future patients with those same mutations.

Some genetics are linked to better or worse disease outcomes, giving researchers more insight into the likelihood of patient survival. Patients and their doctors can use this information to determine whether it would be more beneficial to pursue more aggressive treatments or to focus on disease-maintenance.

National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank

The National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank collects tumor samples and allows researchers to study genetic information on an ongoing basis. As more people with mesothelioma are treated, the universal knowledge and understanding of the disease get stronger. Top mesothelioma experts have access to this knowledge and can use it to their patients’ advantage.

Knowing whether a surgery, targeted therapy or other treatment will be effective, simply because of a patient’s genetic or immune system substances, is an incredibly powerful tool when fighting mesothelioma. Researchers continue to break new ground in this scientific frontier, and many ongoing clinical trials suggest additional discoveries are on the horizon.

How Do Doctors Know What Treatment Is Right for Me?

Patients who undergo personalized biomarker treatment plans will have tissue and blood samples drawn, which are sent to an experienced lab for processing.

Mesothelioma experts analyze the results of this lab work and look for specific biomarkers (blood and immune system substances) that indicate the ideal treatment option, resulting in highly personalized mesothelioma treatment plans.

Whether a treatment is right for a patient depends on non-medical factors as well. Veterans should discuss their personal preferences with their medical team, and always be mindful of their wishes when determining an ideal treatment protocol. Fortunately, biological testing can help patients make the most educated decisions possible.

Matching Patients With the Right Treatment Plan

A company called Castle Biosciences has developed a prognostic test called DecisionDx™-Mesothelioma, which determines the likely prognosis of a patient before they undergo pleurectomy with decortication surgery. This information can help surgeons and patients decide whether surgery is an ideal path forward.

Choosing the Right Targeted Drugs

While the traditional mesothelioma treatment approach is multimodal—a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation—new treatment options based on biomarkers are emerging, such as targeted drug therapies. New research will eventually allow doctors to assess your genetics and determine which immunotherapy and chemotherapy drugs you may respond well to.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers and cancer research facilities are focused on biomarkers and genetic indicators that will improve patient care, hopefully leading to an eventual cure for mesothelioma. Veterans who work with mesothelioma experts who are at the forefront of this research have the best possible access to new research as it becomes available.

Receiving Personalized Mesothelioma Treatment for Veterans

Veterans who served our country deserve the best treatment possible as they fight from diseases like mesothelioma. Mesothelioma specialists who use a personalized treatment approach give veterans the best chance of survival.

Veterans should find a comprehensive cancer center, connect with a top mesothelioma specialist and call the team at Mesothelioma Veterans Center for help covering the costs.

Author:Mesothelioma Veterans Center

Veterans Support Team

Mesothelioma Veterans Center

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center editorial team consists of experienced veterans, family members and medical professionals. Our work is focused on helping veterans with mesothelioma receive the benefits they need and the compensation they deserve. We love our country and are passionate about serving those who first served us.

Last modified: July 11, 2019

View Sources

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “Gaining New Insights into Mesothelioma,” Retrieved from
https://www.brighamandwomens.org/lung-center/new-insights-into-mesothelioma Accessed on May 7, 2019.

National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank, “National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank,” Retrieved from https://www.mesotissue.org/ Accessed on May 7, 2019.

International Mesothelioma Program, “Personalized Treatment Philosophy,” Retrieved from
https://impmeso.org/personalized-treatment-philosophy/ Accessed on May 7, 2019.

Journal of Thoracic Disease, “Personalized treatment of malignant mesothelioma—dream or reality?” Retrieved from
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6072927/ Accessed on May 7, 2019.

Baylor College of Medicine, “About Us,” Retrieved from https://www.bcm.edu/healthcare/care-centers/mesothelioma-treatment-center/about-us Accessed on May 7, 2019.

Castle Biosciences Inc., “DecisionDx-Mesothelioma Overview,” Retrieved from
http://castlebiosciences.com/tests/mesothelioma/ Accessed on May 7, 2019.

Journal of Thoracic Disease, “Overexpressed genes in malignant pleural mesothelioma: implications in clinical management,” Retrieved from
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5830549/ Accessed on May 7, 2019.