Unravelling the Mystery Behind Mesothelioma Tumors

In what could be a step closer to a mesothelioma cure, French cancer researchers say they have identified two of the key genetic pathways responsible for triggering mesothelioma in asbestos-exposed people. Led by Inserm (The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research), the study focused on mice that had been genetically engineered with mutations on certain tumor-suppressor genes known to play a role in malignant mesothelioma in people. Learning About Human Mesothelioma from Mice In the experiment, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, some of the genetically engineered mice, as well as some normal (wild type) mice, were exposed to asbestos while others were not. The goal was to understand exactly what is happening at the molecular … Continue reading Unravelling the Mystery Behind Mesothelioma Tumors »

Lung Fluid Tests May Lead to Earlier Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Using the free-floating cancer cells present in lung-fluid to diagnose malignant mesothelioma may lead to earlier detection and better outcomes. That is the conclusion of cancer researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital. The team’s goal was to evaluate the established criteria for cytopathological diagnosis of mesothelioma, i.e. diagnosis using cells found in fluid (effusions) instead of cells from a tissue biopsy. In a newly published article in the Archives of Pathological and Laboratory Medicine, the researchers observe, “Despite the difficulties in recognizing malignant cells present in those early effusions, they are often the first available biologic material for diagnosis.” Diagnosing Pleural  Mesothelioma Malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare but fast-growing cancer associated with asbestos exposure, is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Diagnosis … Continue reading Lung Fluid Tests May Lead to Earlier Mesothelioma Diagnosis »

Drug-Coated Film May Prevent Mesothelioma Recurrence

Mesothelioma researchers in Italy have developed a new surgical technique with the potential to dramatically increase the odds of surviving malignant pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that grows on the membranous tissue (pleura) surrounding the lungs. It is most common in people who have ever lived or worked in the presence of deadly asbestos dust.                       The new technique involves placing a drug-coated polymer film directly on the mesothelial surface after tumor-removal surgery as a way to prevent recurrent pleural mesothelioma. In a new article in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, researchers at the University of Parma say the film “almost completely prevented tumor recurrence” in treated mice. Battling Recurrent Mesothelioma The typical treatment … Continue reading Drug-Coated Film May Prevent Mesothelioma Recurrence »

Asbestos Ban Not Enough to Wipe Out Mesothelioma in Italy

Twenty-six years after Italy instituted a ban on cancer-causing asbestos, the number of people dying of malignant mesothelioma is still rising. Researchers with the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome computed the mortality rates from mesothelioma between 2003 and 2014 in each of the country’s 8,047 municipalities and found that more than 16,000 people had died from malignant mesothelioma. Most of those deaths were from pleural mesothelioma and most occurred in areas near industrial asbestos sources. Malignant Mesothelioma and Asbestos Bans An estimated 80 percent of people diagnosed with mesothelioma have some type of known exposure to asbestos, a naturally-occurring fibrous mineral that embeds itself in body tissues. Even though scientists were exploring the connection between asbestos exposure and diseases … Continue reading Asbestos Ban Not Enough to Wipe Out Mesothelioma in Italy »

New Study: Asbestos May Drive Mesothelioma Progression

A new study suggests that asbestos, the primary trigger for almost all cases of malignant mesothelioma, may do more than cause the disease—it may also play a role in how quickly it grows and spreads. Malignant mesothelioma is typically a disease of old age. Once inhaled or swallowed, it can take decades for asbestos fibers to work their way into tissues and wreak havoc with the DNA of mesothelial cells. But the new joint Italian/American study suggests that that time may be significantly shortened in cases of heavy exposure. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina and the National Tumor Institute in Milan  have found that the younger a person is at the time of their mesothelioma diagnosis, the … Continue reading New Study: Asbestos May Drive Mesothelioma Progression »

Compound Makes Mesothelioma Tumors More Susceptible to Chemo

Swiss cancer researchers may have found a way to get around malignant mesothelioma’s notorious resistance to chemotherapy with an investigational metal-based compound called RAPTA-T. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an incurable and highly aggressive cancer. One of the reasons it is so deadly is that it rarely responds to standard cancer treatments. Even the treatment combination that is considered the standard of care for pleural mesothelioma—pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin—is only effective in about 4 out of 10 patients. But scientists with Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland have discovered a counterintuitive way to ramp up the cancer-killing power of mesothelioma chemotherapy. Creating a “Healthier” Tumor The element on which the RAPTA-T compound is … Continue reading Compound Makes Mesothelioma Tumors More Susceptible to Chemo »

BAP1 Not the Only Genetic Risk Factor for Mesothelioma

A new study suggests that the BAP1 gene, which has been linked to several kinds of cancer including malignant mesothelioma, may not be the only genetic risk factor for the asbestos cancer. Mesothelioma, a fast-growing membrane cancer, typically only occurs in people who have a history of asbestos exposure. But scientists have long wondered why some asbestos-exposed people go on to develop pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma while others don’t. Extensive mesothelioma research, much of it focused on a mesothelioma “epidemic” among extended families in a particular region in Turkey, discovered that many family members who contracted mesothelioma shared a mutation on the BAP1 gene. This genetic anomaly has also been associated with an increased risk for uveal melanoma, renal cell carcinoma … Continue reading BAP1 Not the Only Genetic Risk Factor for Mesothelioma »

Does Alcohol Increase Mesothelioma Risk?

A new study suggests that drinking too much could raise the risk for developing malignant mesothelioma or another type of cancer. Surprisingly, not drinking quite enough appears to do the same thing. The study was conducted by public health researchers in Northern Ireland and at the National Cancer Institute in the US. It included data from nearly 100,000 adults between 55 and 74 participating in the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. To better understand how alcohol impacts cancer development, researchers assessed the overall risk of death among the study subjects, as well as the risk of death specifically from cancer, and compared it with reported average lifetime alcohol consumption. “In comparison to lifetime light alcohol … Continue reading Does Alcohol Increase Mesothelioma Risk? »

Immunotherapy Combo Shows Early Efficacy for Malignant Mesothelioma

AstraZeneca’s immunotherapy drug tremelimumab may still have a chance as a novel mesothelioma treatment, even though an international clinical trial completed last year found that it did not extend mesothelioma survival. In a new study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Italian researchers report that combining the monoclonal antibody with another drug called durvalumab “appeared active” as a second-line mesothelioma treatment with “a good safety profile”. Tremelimumab’s Rocky Start as a Mesothelioma Treatment Hopes were initially high for tremelimumab, a monoclonal antibody that works by binding to the protein CTLA-4 on the surface of white blood cells and preventing it from inhibiting the cells’ cancer-fighting power. The US even granted tremelimumab “orphan drug” status in 2015, a designation designed to … Continue reading Immunotherapy Combo Shows Early Efficacy for Malignant Mesothelioma »

Tea Leaf Cancer Treatment May Have Implications for Mesothelioma Patients

A new type of nanoparticle derived from green tea leaves has been shown to kill lung cancer cells and may one day do the same for pleural mesothelioma. Scientists at Swansea University in Wales in collaboration with researchers at Bharathiar University in India discovered the power of the tea-based nanoparticles—called quantum dots—when attempting to create a less expensive tool for lung cancer imaging. “The main reason we started looking at tea leaves is that chemically synthesised quantum dots cost between £250 and £500 per microgram,” lead researcher Dr. Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu told the BBC. “Whereas organically-derived ones can be manufactured for £10 per microgram, and at the same time they don’t poison healthy cells surrounding the cancer.” Fluorescent Cancer Fighters Nanoparticles … Continue reading Tea Leaf Cancer Treatment May Have Implications for Mesothelioma Patients »

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