Tag Archives: malignant mesothelioma

Maryland Asbestos Law: Beginning of a Trend?

The state of Maryland is cracking down on asbestos removal companies that put their workers and the public at risk for mesothelioma by cutting corners. State lawmakers have raised the fine from $5,000 to $25,000 for companies that do not follow government guidelines for safe handling of asbestos. Asbestos is a toxic mineral that has been used in decades in insulation and thousands of other products.  By the time its link to mesothelioma was discovered, it was already too late for many workers and consumers who had inadvertently inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers and triggered the physiological changes that would lead to mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases. Even second-hand exposure, such as coming into contact with asbestos-covered clothing, can raise … Continue reading Maryland Asbestos Law: Beginning of a Trend? »

Perifosine May Offer New Mesothelioma Treatment

The makers of the anti-cancer drug perifosine say new research suggests the drug may offer a new way to fight malignant mesothelioma. The research article entitled “Perifosine as a Potential Novel Anti-Cancer Agent Inhibits EGFR/MET-AKT Axis in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma” was recently published in the peer-reviewed online medical journal Plos One. The announcement has been picked up by other news outlets because of the rarity of new treatments for mesothelioma, the asbestos-linked cancer that is diagnosed in about 2,500 Americans every year. In the new study, perifosine was tested on human mesothelial cells and a variety of mesothelioma cell lines to demonstrate its effectiveness alone or in combination with other mesothelioma treatments. When given at a high enough dose, perifosine interfered … Continue reading Perifosine May Offer New Mesothelioma Treatment »

Australian Study Reveals New Mesothelioma Biomarker

A large multi-center Australian study has revealed what researchers say could be an important new biomarker for malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a virulent cancer of internal body membranes usually caused by exposure to asbestos. As with other cancers, mesothelioma cells produce certain compounds at higher levels than healthy cells do. Micro RNAs, or miRNAs, are short chains of ribonucleic acid, some of which are produced in abundance by cancer cells. Using miRNA microarrays, the Australian researchers profiled plasma samples from patients with malignant mesothelioma and from healthy controls. After reviewing 90 miRNAs previously associated with mesothelioma, they found two – miR-29c and miR-92a – in particularly high amounts. Further testing found a total of 15 novel miRNAs in the plasma of … Continue reading Australian Study Reveals New Mesothelioma Biomarker »

Mesothelioma Risk Depends on Asbestos Fiber Size

Scientists who study the connection between asbestos fibers and mesothelioma say they now understand what size particles pose the most danger. Asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma, but some manmade fibers can also be carcinogenic. Manmade nanotubes or nanoparticles are carbon molecules constructed for use in nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields of materials science. Some studies have suggested that their shape can allow them to cross membrane barriers inside the body and cause “inflammatory and fibrotic reactions.”  Such reactions are believed to be the same mechanism by which asbestos fibers may trigger malignant mesothelioma in the pleural membrane around the lungs. Although scientists have long known that the affects of fibers depends on their length, the “key threshold length” … Continue reading Mesothelioma Risk Depends on Asbestos Fiber Size »

Chemoprevention of Mesothelioma: A Neglected Approach?

A group of researchers in Italy is calling for renewed study of a mesothelioma prevention approach they say has been ignored for too long. The method, called chemoprevention, involves using low doses of targeted toxins to seek out and kill cells that have the potential of turning into mesothelioma.  Ideally, these agents are designed to latch onto compounds that are only produced by pre-cancerous cells, minimizing the risk to healthy cells. This idea may be particularly valuable for malignant mesothelioma.  Although the cause – asbestos exposure – is well-known,  there is no way to keep exposed individuals from developing the disease. And because the early symptoms of mesothelioma are typically mild and may mimic other, less serious, conditions, mesothelioma is frequently diagnosed … Continue reading Chemoprevention of Mesothelioma: A Neglected Approach? »

Harnessing T-Cells to Fight Mesothelioma

Cancer researchers in Australia are harnessing the power of disease-fighting T-cells in the ongoing battle with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a virulent cancer of the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the abdomen. The response of the body’s immune system to mesothelioma and other cancers is complex. Mesothelioma tumors in mice and people produce large numbers of Regulatory (Treg) T cells. While Treg cells are typically thought of as one of the body’s ways of fighting disease, the latest research suggests that, in some cases, turning these cells ‘off’ might be more effective against cancer than letting them do their job. In the newest study of Treg cells, they were shown to act as important “mediators” of the body’s anti-tumor … Continue reading Harnessing T-Cells to Fight Mesothelioma »

New Clues How Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma

A team of Japanese researchers believe they may have found another piece of the puzzle explaining why asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos is a naturally occurring soil mineral, mined for decades for use in various industrial applications.  Since its use was first linked to deadly malignant mesothelioma around the middle of the century, researchers around the world have been trying to uncover exactly what makes the material so toxic. Now, a new laboratory study of several types of asbestos may have found part of the answer. Using an advanced system known as ‘matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry’, the Japanese team identified a number of cellular proteins that tend to attach themselves to the surface of asbestos molecules once those molecules … Continue reading New Clues How Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma »

Genetic Mutation Linked to Mesothelioma

Medical science may finally be a step closer to understanding why some people exposed to asbestos contract malignant mesothelioma and others do not. A new study funded by the National Cancer Institute and conducted by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and the University of Hawaii Cancer Center has found that people who have a genetic mutation on their BAP1 gene are more susceptible to mesothelioma and several other types of cancer. The study, published in a recent issue of Nature Genetics, followed two families that have an unusually high incidence of mesothelioma, which is typically very rare. In the U.S., mesothelioma affects fewer than 3,000 people each year. This, despite the fact that tens of thousands of … Continue reading Genetic Mutation Linked to Mesothelioma »

Defense Department Combats Mesothelioma

The U.S. Department of Defense is stepping up its efforts to combat the threat of mesothelioma cancer among veterans.  For the fourth consecutive year, the DOD has agreed to provide grant funding to researchers exploring the causes and possible treatments for malignant mesothelioma, a disease triggered almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Because as many as a third of the approximately 2,500 cases of the disease reported annually in the U.S. occur among veterans, mesothelioma has been designated by the DOD since 2008 as an eligible disease under the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP).  This year, the program will provide $16 million in grants for the study of a range of cancers, including colorectal, bladder, kidney, pancreatic, mesothelioma and others.  The … Continue reading Defense Department Combats Mesothelioma »

Mesothelioma a ‘Good Target’ for Gene Therapy

The authors of an article to be published in the journal Current Treatment Options in Oncology say that malignant mesothelioma is an especially good target for a novel cancer treatment called gene therapy. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the thin, membranous mesothelial tissue surrounding the lungs, heart or abdomen. Also known as the ‘asbestos cancer’, because of its link to asbestos exposure, mesothelioma is extremely difficult to treat. Based on an evaluation of clinical trials on gene therapy for mesothelioma, the University of Pennsylvania researchers concluded that certain aspects of this disease may make gene therapy a promising option. One mesothelioma characteristic they cited is the tendency for the cancer to remain relatively localized until late in the course … Continue reading Mesothelioma a ‘Good Target’ for Gene Therapy »