Photofrin is a photodynamic therapy (PDT) drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of esophageal cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer. Recently, however, Pinnacle Biologics filed paperwork to seek an Orphan Drug Designation for Photofrin, wanting the drug to be approved as a mesothelioma treatment. This type of FDA designation is available for drugs used to diagnose, treat or prevent diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. It helps move a drug to market faster by relaxing certain testing requirements, though orphan drugs are held to the same FDA standards for efficacy and safety as other drugs.
Mesothelioma, also known as asbestos cancer, is a deadly disease usually caused by asbestos exposure. It claims the lives of approximately 2,500 Americans each year. The “promising results” of studies using PDT in conjunction with mesothelioma surgery, as described by Dr. Joseph S. Friedberg, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, may offer new hope to patients diagnosed with the disease. However, even as new treatments emerge, men and women around the country continue to be diagnosed with this incurable disease up to decades after their initial asbestos exposure. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, an experiencedmesothelioma attorney can help you seek the justice you deserve.
Photofrin treatment, which researchers hope will improve the odds for mesothelioma patients, is a two-part process. First, the patient receives an intravenous injection of the drug, which is attracted to certain types of cells, including cancer cells. The drug remains in cancer cells longer than healthy ones, so when the patient is then exposed to targeted laser light 40 to 50 hours after being injected with Photofrin, a biochemical reaction is triggered that destroys only the cancer cells. Mesothelioma spreads differently than most other cancers, moving along the surfaces of organs, cavity walls and blood vessels, which makes it difficult to target and treat. According to Dr. Friedberg, “By utilizing PDT as an intraoperative treatment, we have been able to develop a technique where we can reliably preserve the patient’s lung.” Other mesothelioma surgeries typically require that part of the lung or the entire lung be removed, so the use of Photofrin to treat mesothelioma may help prolong patients’ lives and improve their quality of life. Also, SurvivingMesothelioma.com reports that Photofrin has been used successfully “to seek out and destroy mesothelioma cells left behind after surgery.” While Photofrin may improve the prognosis for some mesothelioma patients, it is still important to consult a qualified mesothelioma lawyersoon after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis to determine if you may be entitled to compensation for your disease.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness,contact a knowledgeable asbestos attorney today. An experienced asbestos lawyer can help you understand your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.