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Twenty-First Century Cures Act Provides Resources for Mesothelioma Research

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law, funneling billions of dollars into cancer research in the United States.

The 21st Century Cures Act will provided $1.8 billion in new resources for:

  • Cancer prevention
  • Vaccines
  • Discovery of cures, specifically using immunotherapy

Up to half of all U.S. males and a third of U.S. females will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetimes. For 3,000 people every year, that diagnosis is for a specific cancer: mesothelioma.

There are several drugs proving to be effective in helping mesothelioma patients live longer. While these have yet to be approved by the FDA for mesothelioma, the following drugs are being studied in clinical trials:

  • Keytruda (pembrolizumab)
  • Avastin (bevacizumab)
  • Tremelimumab

With the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, there will be even more opportunity for immunotherapy research. Mesothelioma researchers will have access to knowledge gained from research into other forms of cancer.

The 21st Century Cures Act offers many promising initiatives for mesothelioma patients, including:

  1. Funding for precision medicine (developing ways to treat individual patients based on their specific genes)
  2. Giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to handle “genetically targeted drugs”
  3. Broadening support for medical record sharing to allow researchers to see trends and target therapies