Mesothelioma lung cancer can come to those persons who loved, and simply hugged their parent who worked around asbestos. For example, now at age 45, Heather Von St. James recalls her father working as a building demolition employee around materials containing asbestos. He would return home each day thoroughly covered by dirt and dust. She remembers how much she enjoyed hugging her father each night.
By age 36, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the deadly yet to be cured cancer connected with exposure to asbestos particles. Mesothelioma can take decades to develop and it often kills within months after symptoms appear. Heather was a new mother to a 3-month-old daughter, and she was told her only chance to live was by having a lung removed.
In 2013, more than 107,000 people died worldwide from mesothelioma. However, Heather opted for the surgery instead, and removed the disease in time to stay alive. According to Ms. St. James, “There’s a lot of people who don’t.”
Fortunately for other people with mesothelioma, or those that will discover they have the deadly disease, a new wave of drugs developed and being tested are giving new hope that mesothelioma cancer may be slowed or stopped. Drug researchers, like Verastem Inc. (VSTM), GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), and Dr. Parkash Gill of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center have announced that they are testing new cancer fighting drugs.
Carolyn Buser-Doepner (VP for tumor signaling at Glaxo, the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker), there are plans to combine a new drug GSK2256098 with some other medicines to potentially make cancer treatments more effective. In one early-stage trial, it will be paired up with Glaxo’s Mekinist, which is approved for melanoma. She said, “The pre-clinical data are very encouraging. We’re very excited about it.”