Finally, some good news for those suffering from mesothelioma.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced its approval of a drug regimen to treat pleural mesothelioma in adults, giving thousands of victims hope for more time with the people they love.

This is the first drug regimen approved for mesothelioma in 16 years and the second FDA-approved systemic therapy for mesothelioma.

Encouraging New Treatment for Patients with Mesothelioma

The new treatment combines Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab), which has shown improvement in patients with mesothelioma when it cannot be removed by surgery. Such advancements in the fight against mesothelioma haven’t been seen since 2004, giving encouragement to patients and caregivers alike.

“(The) approval of nivolumab plus ipilimumab provides a new treatment that has demonstrated an improvement in overall survival for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma,” said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence. “In 2004, the FDA approved pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin for this indication, and now patients now have an important, additional treatment option after more than a decade with only one FDA-approved drug regimen.”

New Drug Combo Improves Survival Rates

During a clinical trial, 605 patients with untreated mesothelioma participated in a randomized, open-label trial to determine if the treatment would improve survival rates when compared to chemotherapy.

Patients received intravenous infusions of Opdivo every two weeks and Yervoy every six weeks for up to two years, or platinum-doublet chemotherapy for up to six cycles. Treatment was administered until the disease progressed or unacceptable levels of toxicity were reached.

Patients who received the drug combination treatment had a median survival rate of 18.1 months, compared to a median of 14.1 months for those who underwent chemotherapy treatment. The finding potentially gives victims and their families a priceless gift – more time.

Mesothelioma and the Need for an Asbestos Ban

Each year, more than 20,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive and often-fatal form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral mined from the earth, and until the 1980s, it was a common material used in several industries and every branch of the military. Used for its heat-resistance and cost-effectiveness, businesses were quick to utilize asbestos in their products despite knowing its health hazards. Even with irrefutable proof that asbestos exposure is deadly, the U.S. remains the last industrialized country to ban asbestos. It continues to import and use asbestos to this day.

You are Not Alone

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, know you are not alone. With a team of dedicated mesothelioma attorneys with decades of experience, SWMW Law has recovered more than $500 million for victims and their families, giving them peace of mind, financial security for the future, and the justice they deserve. We can do the same for you. Contact us today to get started.