Mesothelioma research continues to astonish even those of us who have been tracking mesothelioma research progress for a long time. Just when you may despair and feel that nothing new about this lethal illness has emerged in a long time, along comes an amazing new finding.
Mesothelioma Circle is pleased to present you with this hopeful piece of mesothelioma research news.
Mesothelioma Research Shows Tumors Create Their Own Blood Vessels
This new mesothelioma research comes from Australia, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of mesothelioma. Researchers at Australia’s Flinders University have discovered that mesothelioma’s way of growing and spreading may include a mechanism that up until now has gone undetected.
The researchers’ new findings suggest that mesothelioma tumors manage to grow by creating blood vessels from the inside, thwarting current medical treatments for the cancer. The current standard treatments for mesothelioma target blood cells that grow into a mesothelioma tumor, not those that grow from inside of a tumor itself.
One of the researchers, Associate Professor Sonja Klebe, noted in a media interview that the way the mesothelioma tumors appear to create their own blood cells is uncommon in existing cancer research.
“Instead of waiting for the outside of the tissue to grow blood vessels in, the tumor cells themselves branch out, growing blood vessels that reach out into surrounding tissues, tapping into the body’s bloodstream,” she said during a recent media interview.
At present, mesothelioma treatments target blood cells that grow into tumor cells not tumor cells that transform into blood cells.
Associate Professor Klebe further commented, “So I think a future approach would involve treating both of these types of vessels to more or less starve the tumor of blood supply.”
Although Dr. Klebe stated that until mesothelioma can be detected earlier a cure is unlikely, she is optimistic that this new mesothelioma research may pave the way for new treatments that can prolong life for mesothelioma patients.
Mesothelioma Research To Find Less Invasive Treatment a Focus
Mesothelioma research has long been a focus of Dr. Klebe and her colleagues at Flinders University in Australia. In recent years, they have been working on a new combination of drugs and gene therapy that would effectively block two proteins that help promote mesothelioma tumor growth.
Associate Professor Klebe and her team have been trying to target a protein growth factor along with another protein that enhances tumor growth directly by helping to grow the blood cells that feed the tumor. Like a vampire, in order for a cancer tumor to grow, it needs nutrients from the blood. So the tumor secretes these proteins that signal the blood vessels to grow.
The researchers theorize that if blocking the growth factor protein alone can delay the progression of cancer growth and blocking the other protein alone does too, maybe blocking both of them at the same time could be more effective.
Dr. Klebe and colleagues are the first ones in mesothelioma research to test the blockade treatment on both proteins at the same time. They are using human pleural mesothelioma cells collected from diagnosed patients during treatment to relieve shortness of breath.
“There’s no cure for mesothelioma and the only treatment besides chemotherapy is aggressive surgery that strips the lining of the rib cage and removes the lung, providing only one lung has been affected, so hopefully we can offer a much less invasive and more effective treatment in the future, when the prevalence of the disease is likely to reach its peak,” Dr. Klebe said about this research study.
Associate Professor Klebe’s research at Flinders University is funded by the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation and the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer and Comcare.
Mesothelioma Circle sponsors Kazan Law also fund extensive mesothelioma research at leading universities through the firm’s foundation.
Mesothelioma Research Progress Includes Immunotherapy
Mesothelioma research on successful new treatments continues but to date has not yielded dramatic changes. Standard mesothelioma treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery can buy patients some time but results are varied and limited. Newer mesothelioma research is focused on finding mesothelioma treatments that work by helping the body’s own immune system halt the disease. It is part of a promising new branch of medical research called immunotherapy.
One reason that a new treatment for mesothelioma has not been found yet is partly due to the economics of the pharmaceutical industry. We at Mesothelioma Circle believe that even one death from mesothelioma is one too many and devastating for the individual and their loved ones. But in the world of pharmaceuticals, the number of mesothelioma cases is often considered too few to justify the high costs of bringing a new drug to market. Drugs for treating more uncommon types of illnesses, including mesothelioma, until recently were considered “orphan drugs.” They were considered not likely to bring in enough prescriptions to justify the multi-millions of dollars spent on research and clinical trials.
Mesothelioma, a fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure is diagnosed in an estimated 3,000 people every year in the U.S. In 2016, the National Cancer Institute estimates that 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 595,690 people will die from the disease.
We are glad that medical researchers like Associate Professor Sonja Klebe continue to make mesothelioma research a top priority.