Clinical trial studies benefit of targeted drug for malignant mesothelioma

Mesothelioma microenvironment

Mesothelioma microenvironment

Patients with malignant mesothelioma who have failed standard therapies including patients with genetic or tumor mutations in the BAP-1 gene may be eligible to participate in a new clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center.

The outer surface of most internal organs (lungs, abdomen, heart, etc.) is lined by a layer of specialized cells called the mesothelium. Malignant mesothelioma is cancer that begins in this protective layer of these cells. A team led by Raffit Hassan, M.D., of the Thoracic and GI Malignancies Branch has characterized mesothelioma patients with mutations in their BAP-1 gene. This gene is part of a larger family of genes that help cells repair damage to their DNA. The drug olaparib is designed to target cancers that have mutations in genes such as BAP-1 that help to repair DNA. Studies in Dr. Hassan’s laboratory have shown that tumor cells obtained from patients with mesothelioma are sensitive to olaparib. The goal of this study is to see if olaparib causes mesothelial tumors to shrink in patients with mutated BAP-1 or other DNA damage-repair genes and in patients with no mutations in these genes. 

The Center for Cancer Research is NCI’s internal cancer center, a publicly funded organization working to improve the lives of cancer patients by solving important, challenging and neglected problems in cancer research and patient care. Highly trained physician-scientists develop and carry out clinical trials to create the medicines of tomorrow treating patients at the world’s largest dedicated research hospital on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.  

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Summary Posted: 07/2018