For thousands suffering with Mesothelioma, new research and medicine continue to bring hope, and then sudden disappointment. Yet recently, Onconase has made its way to the forefront as a potential drug of choice among the medical community for combating this life-threatening asbestos cancer, and easing the suffering and debilitating symptoms traditionally accompanied by chemotherapy.
How Onconase Works
This amazing new treatment for malignant mesotheliaoma seems to help reduce the quick spread of the condition. “Technically speaking, Onconase slows down cancer cell growth by decaying RNA. Without certain RNA strands, cancer cells cannot produce certain essential proteins and, therefore, cannot replicate. This serves to slow the growth of the tumor,” reports one source. They add, “the median survival of the patients who entered the trial without symptoms from the cancer was 18.5 months.”
The History of Mesotheliaoma
The American Cancer Society defines mesothelioma as a type of cancer that begins in the tissue that line different organs and spaces inside the body. This tissue, called mesothelium (mez-uh-thee-le-um), protects organs by making a special fluid that allows the organs to move. For example, this fluid makes it easier for the lungs to move during breathing.
Mesothelioma is a condition that occurs because the victims have inhaled asbestos. As a result, this disease has been the cause of many mesothelioma lawsuits across the country. “Today, as the disease begins to take its toll on the asbestos workers of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, many new cases of the disease are being diagnosed each year. In fact, the number of cases is rising so quickly that many law firms have employed or trained lawyers to deal specifically with these types of cases. The irresponsible companies and manufacturers that were responsible for this exposure have been sued for billions of dollars, with many of them going bankrupt as a result of compensation payouts.”
Onconase to the Rescue
Onconase is manufactured by Alfacell Corporation and comes from the eggs of the leopard frog. It is known as a “ribonuclease protein” that actually helps enhance anti-cancer effects associated with chemotherapy. By allowing the body to take the drug in lower doses, toxicity is decreased, as are side affects like nausea, vomiting, anemia, and hair loss.
In January 2008, Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc. acquired the exclusive licensing and commercialization rights to Onconase from Alfacell Corp. The drug is in Phase III development. Alfacell continues its research by conducting advanced studies in 40 medical centers throughout seven countries, including the United States and Canada. The Phase III clinical trials help gather the results of the drug, its benefits, and risk factors. The studies involve large groups of volunteers, and follow the initial studies done in lab animals and smaller groups of people.
An interesting fact about Onconase is that it’s the first embryonic stem cell product to reach the final stages of testing. An online resource adds, “Doctors hope to soon be using Onconase in place of Doxorubicin, a chemotherapy drug with crippling side effects that have a serious effect on the patient’s quality of life.”
The National Cancer Institute reports that during the studies, patients are randomly assigned to one of two groups. Patients in one group receive an infusion of Onconase and an infusion of doxorubicin once a week for at least 18 weeks. They may then receive Onconase alone for as long as benefit is shown. Patients in group two receive an infusion of doxorubicin alone once a week for up to 18 weeks. Quality of life is then assessed.
These studies will complete Phase III and Onconase will then be fully approved for use.