ASBESTOS-related disease sufferers could soon see relief with a new clinical trial underway in the western suburbs.
The trial, which is being studied at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital cancer centre, will target mesothelioma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart, caused by asbestos.
Professor Anna Nowak is a medical oncologist and the principal investigator for the clinical trial, which looks at how radiotherapy can improve quality of life or reduce pain for patients.
Dr Nowak said although radiotherapy was widely used in malignant mesothelioma to reduce painful masses, there had not been a trial to measure a reduction in pain or tumour response.
“We’ve never had a good idea of how much relief it can offer from symptoms,” she said
“Patients are also having a special type of PET scan, which measures oxygen levels in tumours.
“What we also hope to get out of this is a better understanding of how oxygen levels in tumours will determine how they respond to treatment.”
She said there was also an associated laboratory study on mice, which looked at whether improving oxygen levels could make radiotherapy treatment more effective for mesothelioma patients.
“If we discovered a way to improve oxygen levels in the tumour and make radiotherapy more effective, then in our next trial we could give people radiotherapy at the same time as improving oxygen levels in the tumour to make radiotherapy work better in patients,” she said.
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