New Drug Granted Orphan Drug Status to Treat Malignant Mesothelioma

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CanBas Co., a Japanese-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical company was recently granted orphan drug status by the United States Food and Drug Administration for a new drug that treats advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma, pharmabiz.com reports.

Treating mesothelioma is difficult because there is no known cure for this particularly aggressive form of cancer. While pharmacists, scientists and researchers attempt to find one, like they are doing for all forms of cancer, the best mesothelioma patients can get at this point are drugs that can soothe their pain.

Most research has shown that the illness can live in a person’s body for up to 30 or 40 years before a person feels the symptoms and seeks a doctor’s opinion on what is causing it. By the time a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, they typically only live another 12 months, on average.

Our mesothelioma lawyers have seen the pain and frustration this form of cancer has caused families. For many, they are so scared to learn they have this disease and they don’t know how to react to the news. For others, they are angry because they discover that working with asbestos decades ago, for a company that knew the ill effects of the product but never told employees, is the cause for their disease.

Asbestos was used in the United States for decades until the early 1990s. Researchers began studying this natural mineral — used as insulation, in car parts products, hair dryers, crock pots, piping and other products to resist fire and heat — decades ago because people who were around it were getting sick. It wasn’t long before they realized asbestos is a direct link to mesothelioma.

But perhaps this new drug could help. According to pharmabiz, CBP501 is in a late development stage to treat people with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma who aren’t eligible for surgery. This is the case with many mesothelioma patients. Because the cancer attacks major organs, such as the lungs, heart and stomach lining, it’s typically difficult to operate.

According to the report, the company is testing 63 patients and hope to have the patients treated by the beginning of 2012. The FDA’s orphan drug program allows for drugs to get special status to treat a rare disease or a condition that affects a small portion of the public. It provides tax breaks and marketing incentives to companies who are working on drugs that won’t be mass-marketed, but only will treat a small number of patients.

According to the source, pleural mesothelioma makes up about 70 percent of all mesothelioma cases and 80 percent of all pleural mesothelioma cases involve a history of asbestos exposure. The latency period is 20 to 50 years and therefore the diagnosis usually comes in the advanced stages. Chemotherapy is typically the only treatment option for patients.

Our mesothelioma lawyers hope that this drug could provide hope for the thousands of mesothelioma patients in the United States who wonder what went wrong and why they have to suffer at the end of their lives. While this form of cancer doesn’t get the exposure that others do, it is ruthless and more treatment options must be developed.

The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services, including mesothelioma legal help. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

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