St. Elizabeth Healthcare First in Region to Offer New Treatment for Mesothelioma

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St. Elizabeth Healthcare is raising awareness for mesothelioma by announcing a new, innovative treatment option for this rare disease on National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

St. Elizabeth is the first in Kentucky and the only health system in the region to offer a new wearable, non-invasive treatment for mesothelioma. Optune Lua is a portable device that delivers low-grade electrical fields to the tumors to slow the growth of cancer cells.

“Optune Lua is a new treatment that slows progression and improves the quality of life for people living with mesothelioma,” says Dr. Goetz Kloecker, medical oncologist with St. Elizabeth Physicians. “It is the first FDA-approved treatment for mesothelioma in 15 years.”

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and heart. Once diagnosed, most patients only live for 12-18 months. Mesothelioma is typically caused by exposure to asbestos. There is currently no cure for mesothelioma for the absolute majority of patients.

Doug Flora, MD, executive medical director of St. Elizabeth oncology services, said, “Our commitment to cancer treatment for the region is evident in our new cancer center. As we create a center of excellence for thoracic cancers, it is important that we continue to bring new and innovative treatment options like this to St. Elizabeth and our community—options that aren’t readily available elsewhere in the region.”

In clinical studies, the Optune Lua in combination with chemotherapy, extended life by 50%, and 97% saw their mesothelioma shrink or stop growing. The device is portable and is worn to deliver wave-like electric impulses to the lungs. These electric waves are created by adhering large pads on the skin over the area on the front and back of your body. The pads are then connected to a portable battery. Surgery and chemotherapy are standard treatments for mesothelioma. The Optune Lua device when used with chemotherapy is shown to extend the effect that chemotherapy has on treating mesothelioma.

Dr. Kloecker added, “Currently, St. Elizabeth Healthcare only treats mesothelioma with the Optune Lua. In the future and after more clinical studies, we hope the use of low-grade electrical fields may be used to treat other forms of cancer.”

About St. Elizabeth Healthcare

St. Elizabeth Healthcare operates five facilities throughout Northern Kentucky and more than 115 primary care and specialty office locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. A member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, St. Elizabeth is a mission-based organization committed to improving the health of the communities it serves, providing more than $116 million in uncompensated care and benefit to the community in 2018. For more information, visit www.stelizabeth.com.