GLASGOW, Scotland – Scientists in Scotland are in the process of developing a new treatment that would allow drugs for mesothelioma and lung cancer victims to be administered by inhalation, meaning intravenous (IV) administration may one day be completely unnecessary. The revolutionary treatment uses a nebulizer to deliver the drugs in vaporized form. Not only is it convenient and non-intrusive, but the method may also eliminate the side effects that may result from current IV methods, like kidney disease.

Mesothelioma patients may be able to benefit from this new treatment. The disease, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, affects the lungs, heart and chest cavities. Around 3,500 new mesothelioma cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, but many go unnoticed because the cancer can take up to 50 years to manifest and symptoms may not even be severe enough to lead the victim to seek medical attention.

Even though there are treatments for mesothelioma, like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, prognosis is grim and sadly, there is currently no cure for the cancer. Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, where the treatment is being developed, are optimistic about its potential for success. “By delivering cisplatin, one of the most widely used drugs for lung cancer, in a vaporized form, we would be able to get it to the cancerous cells and avoid the damage to healthy cells which can be hugely debilitating to patients. It would make the treatment far less onerous for them and we hope it would help them to live longer,” said Dr. Chris Carter, a Senior Lecturer the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences who led the research.

Being that treatment options for mesothelioma are very limited, the new procedure will help victims tremendously. Cisplatin is a common chemotherapy drug used to treat mesothelioma, and many patients experience side effects from IV administration of the drug. A nebulizer treatment will allow this and other drugs to be administered faster than the methods currently used and will also alleviate a lot of the discomfort patients endure. “It would make the treatment far less onerous for them and we hope it would help them to live longer,” said Dr. Carter.

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