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The Polaris Pharmaceutical’s new drug for mesothelioma has increased the three-year survival rate by fourfold, as published in the internationally renowned medical journal JAMA Oncology.

Polaris Pharmaceuticals announced that on February 15th of this year, Professor Peter Szlosarek, the lead investigator of the Arctic Star Mesothelioma Clinical Trial at Queen Mary University of London, presented the clinical trial results at the Barts Cancer Cell and Molecular Biology Center, which were published in JAMA Oncology. JAMA Oncology is one of the journals in the Journal of the American Medical Association series, focusing on clinical research, basic research, epidemiology, and clinical trials related to cancer. The journal aims to provide a peer-reviewed platform for the latest research in oncology to facilitate knowledge sharing and academic progress in the medical community.

The study showed that combining traditional chemotherapy with the new drug ADI-PEG20 increased the median survival period of participants by 1.6 months and increased the 36-month survival rate by fourfold compared to the placebo-chemotherapy group. This is significant for rare cancers like MPM, associated with asbestos exposure and limited treatment options. The 5-year survival rate for MPM is usually only 5-10%, and Arctic Star Pharmaceutical’s innovative treatment approach with ADI-PEG 20 marks the first successful combination of chemotherapy with targeted cancer metabolism drugs developed for this type of disease in 20 years.

The ATOMIC-meso trial represents the culmination of 20 years of research conducted at Barts Cancer Institute, initiated by Professor Peter Szlosarek’s discovery that MPM cells lack a protein called ASS1, which prevents cells from producing their own arginine. Since then, he and his team have been dedicated to utilizing this knowledge to create an effective treatment regimen for MPM patients.

Professor Peter Szlosarek stated, “Seeing the fruition of research into arginine deprivation in cancer cells is truly wonderful. This discovery has been something I’ve been pushing since the earliest days in the lab, and now this new treatment approach with ADI-PEG20 is improving the lives of those affected by mesothelioma.”

The success of this trial has also sparked research into the potential efficacy of ADI-PEG20 in other cancer treatments, such as for patients with soft tissue sarcomas or brain tumors. The success of this novel combination therapy with chemotherapy also suggests potential benefits of ADI-PEG20 in the treatment of various other cancers.

Meanwhile, a patient named Mick shared his journey with mesothelioma. In the 1970s, Mick worked in a factory boiler room where he was exposed to asbestos. In 2018, he sought medical attention due to discomfort and a weight loss of approximately 20 kilograms, ultimately being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

“It was a bit of a shock: the doctors said I had only four months to live,” Mick explained. Joining the clinical trial for mesothelioma two years ago, Mick undergoes treatment weekly. “I haven’t had any serious side effects, and I’ve seen many others in the trial. Over time, some of them have disappeared. But I keep moving forward.”

Mick’s participation in the ATOMIC-meso trial significantly extended his survival period. He stated, “This trial has changed the lives of those with mesothelioma, allowing us to live longer. I now have five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and I don’t want to miss out on any of it.”


FMD – New treatment for a rare and aggressive cancer improves survival rates in breakthrough clinical trial – Queen Mary University of London (

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