Repurposing therapeutics for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) – Updates on clinical translations and future outlook

Life Sciences 2022 June 13 [Link]

Nishant S Kulkarni, Vivek Gupta


Introduction: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare malignancy affecting the mesothelial cells in the pleural lining surrounding the lungs. First approved chemotherapy against MPM was a platinum/antifolate (cisplatin/pemetrexed) (2003). Since then, no USFDA approvals have gone through for small molecules as these molecules have not been proven to be therapeutically able in later stages of clinical studies. An alternative to conventional chemotherapy can be utilization of monoclonal antibodies, which are proven to improve patient survival significantly as compared to conventional chemotherapy (Nivolumab + Ipilimumab, 2020).

Area covered: Drug repurposing has been instrumental in drug discovery for rare diseases such as MPM and multiple repositioned small molecule therapies and immunotherapies are currently being tested for its applicability in MPM management. This article summarizes essential breakthroughs along the pre-clinical and clinical developmental stages of small molecules and monoclonal antibodies for MPM management.

Expert opinion: For rare diseases such as malignant pleural mesothelioma, a drug repurposing strategy can be adapted as it eases the financial burden on pharmaceutical companies along with fast-tracking development. With the rise of multiple small molecule repurposed therapies and innovations in localized treatment, MPM therapeutics are bound to be more effective in this decade.