Verastem, Inc. Testing Exciting New Mesothelioma Drug
In the battle against malignant mesothelioma, scientists and physicians from around the world are constantly searching for an effective way to prevent the disease from coming back after the patient has undergone traditional medical treatments. Recently a new oral medication from Verastem, Inc. called Defactinib is getting a great deal of attention.
Verastem, Inc. is a drug manufacturer that focuses on developing drugs that target cancer stem cells. They recently began an expansive international clinical trial on Defactinib to test its effectiveness in killing cancer stem cells in patients who have been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma.
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The Challenge of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare and always fatal form of cancer that is particularly aggressive. Like other difficult-to-treat forms of cancer, the real difficulty in treating the disease lies in the fact that it is generally not diagnosed until it is at an extremely advanced stage. Pleural mesothelioma affects a thin layer of tissue that encases the lungs.
Although surgical treatments, radiation therapy and chemotherapy have all been shown to have a positive impact on the disease, the underlying cancer cells in pleural mesothelioma are highly resistant to these treatments, so the cancer eventually returns, leading to the patients’ eventual death.
Defactinib and Mesothelioma
Verastem, Inc. is a company that has focused its efforts specifically on finding therapeutic treatments for cancer stem cells with the hope that they will be able to kill those cells and stop the reappearance of disease. Defactinib was engineered with mesothelioma and ovarian cancer in mind; both are extremely lethal forms of cancer.
The medication is taken orally, and acts to inhibit focal adhesion kinase, or FAK. FAK is a protein that is actively involved in metastasizing cancer cells, and is essential to the growth of cancer stem cells. It is administered after mesothelioma patients have shown a partial response or stabilization following a standard traditional treatment.
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Mesothelioma Survival is Verastem’s Goal
Verastem, Inc. has recently embarked on a special clinical trial to determine the exact outcomes of patients treated with Defactinib. The trial is titled COMMAND, which stands for Control Of Mesothelioma with Maintenance Defactinib. It is a carefully engineered placebo-controlled study that is being watched with much anticipation by the entire mesothelioma community.
The study is expected to include patients from all over the world, with a total number of participants expected to reach between 350 and 400. They will include representative patients from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, among others.
The patients in the study will all have shown a positive response to standard mesothelioma treatments and will show either partial improvement from those treatments or complete stabilization.
Verastem, Inc. Expresses Optimism about Results
According to the study’s authors, the goal of the study, and of their development of Defactinib, is not just to extend the survival time of mesothelioma patients. Their goal is Progression Free Survival and Overall Survival. According to Dr. Joanna Horobin, Verastem Chief Medical Officer, “FAK inhibition holds significant potential in malignant pleural mesothelioma, a cancer whose aggressiveness and treatment resistance probes all too often to be devastating for patients.”
Dr. Horobin said that, “Development of a drug that preferentially kills cancer stem cells is a promising approach, as many standard-of-care treatments have shown to either have no effect on or actually enrich the population of these chemo resistant cells.”
Mesothelioma is an International Problem
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was widely used in a number of industrial settings across the world. Though the material’s use has been banned in many parts of the world, the incidence of the disease continues to rise because it has such a long latency period and doesn’t appear until years after exposure.
With approximately 59,000 mesothelioma patients dying every year of the disease globally, the need to find an effective cure is an international goal. Verastem, Inc’s Defactinib shows great promise.
Call Danziger & De Llano for Information on Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, Danziger & De Llano can answer all of your questions about filing a claim against the company responsible for your illness. Contact us today for more information.