While the use of asbestos peaked about 40 years ago, the number of cases of the rare but deadly cancer it causes has not declined.
Every year, doctors diagnose about 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma after patients come in with a cough, fever, fatigue, excessive sweating and pain in the chest. In most cases the disease already has advanced so far that patients will die in a matter of months.
Treatment is primarily palliative — meant to ease the suffering — but that may be changing.
Doctors see hope as interest in the disease has grown. There are at least 20 clinical trials underway and the FDA recently gave a special designation to a new drug created by AstraZeneca's...