A treatment that uses light to eradicate cancer cells may soon be used to treat mesothelioma patients.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by exposure to the mineral asbestos. It affects the lining of the lungs, heart and chest cavities. Although there are treatments for the disease, such as radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, sadly, there is currently no cure for mesothelioma.

The makers of Photofrin (porfimer sodium), a drug that is used in photodynamic therapy, have filed for Orphan Drug designation with the FDA. An ‘orphan drug’ is used to treat a disease that affects less than 200,000 Americans. Due to their special classification, they can be moved into the market faster thanother drugs by offering tax incentives.

If orphan drug designation is obtained for Photofrin, the drug may be used to treat mesothelioma patients. When used in conjunction with other drugs, preliminary clinical trials of Photofrin have shown it may improve the condition of mesothelioma victims.

Doctors at the Pennsylvania Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program at Penn Medicine have already used Photofrin successfully to find and eradicate mesothelioma cells that were left behind after surgery.

“By utilizing PDT as an intraoperative treatment, we have been able to develop a technique where we can reliably preserve the patient’s lung,” said Dr. Joseph Friedberg, Chief of Thoracic Surgery and a lead researcher on the Photofrin trial.

The way the treatment works is by directing light at Photofrin-treated cells, which triggers a biochemical response that kills the cell. Cancer cells retain the photosensitizing drug longer than healthy cells do, so photodynamic therapy may prove to be a breakthrough in the fight against mesothelioma.

Although new treatments are being developed every day, mesothelioma patients don’t have much time to fight their disease. If you or a loved one have been suffering with mesothelioma, turn to a leading team of mesothelioma lawyers right away for help. Mesothelioma attorneys fight for your rights and ensure that you obtain the money damages and medical care you deserve for your pain and suffering.

With a top mesothelioma lawyer working on your case, you may receive thousands or even millions of dollars in compensation after being exposed to asbestos. Schedule a consultation with an acclaimed mesothelioma attorney right away to discuss your options and file a case.