The European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO) conference, held September 12-16 in Barcelona, Spain, reported on the results of 82 different studies evaluating the benefits of TomoTherapy, an advanced therapy radiation for cancer care, including mesothelioma.

A particularly aggressive form of cancer, mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. As a result of a combination of a lack of asbestos awareness or the deliberate withholding of information, thousands of UK workers in heavy manufacturing industries have been left throughout the last century and into the 21st century with the fatal asbestos-related diseases, most frequently, asbestosis but also, mesothelioma.

To date, no cure has ever been found for mesothelioma, and all sufferers eventually succumb to the disease. The unusually long time period of between 15-50 years that elapses before the signs of mesothelioma or asbestosis symptoms appear, also means that the condition is considerably well advanced, and may mean the unfortunate sufferer may only have months or sometimes only weeks to live. However, patients have been able to receive palliative treatment in an effort to extend their life expectancy and relieve discomfort.

The researchers were able to show that the new therapy system was capable of conforming distribution in the most uniform dosage, when comparison testing for improving target coverage without damaging nearby organs.

It was further demonstrated that treatment of more complex mesothelioma cases saw significant success as a one-year patient survival rate increased from 43 to 72 percent between two sets of trial patient groups. In addition, relapse in mesothelioma development was extended to an average of 16 months from an average of six months.

Whilst the new radiation treatment may not permanently remove the mesothelioma cancer, improving the survival rate of patients through new methods of treatment can bring hope to patients that they may live to see some legal redress if they are pursuing an ongoing mesothelioma claim for compensation from previous employers.