When facing a sneaky merciless foe like mesothelioma, it is important to try to keep moving forward. Just because there is no cure today and mesothelioma treatment options are limited does not mean that there won’t be a cure tomorrow as well as newer and better treatment options. The only way this will happen is by ongoing meticulous scientific mesothelioma research. Yes, there will be some false hopes and blind alleys. That is the way scientific research works. The main thing is to keep going. To quote Winston Churchill, “We shall never surrender.”
Today I’m going to focus on the recent research work of Karin Schelch, a young scientist at the Institute of Cancer Research of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Schelch when I attended the 11th International Conference of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group in Boston. My firm Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood funded the Young Investigator Awards, as we have done since 2008.
Schelch and her colleagues had recently presented their promising new findings to the American Association for Cancer Research. If you would like to read their abstract, I’ve included a link to it here. Or you can watch Schelch, a PhD candidate in molecular biology, explain her work in the video clip above.
The research focuses on a type of stem cell called fibroblasts which helps the body produce new cells using fibroblast growth factor. In most cases, that’s a good thing because it is how our bodies maintain their structure throughout our lives. But in the case of tumors, it is not such a good thing because the cells that get produced contribute to the cancer process.
Cleverly trying to game that system, Schelch and her colleagues used known biochemical inhibitors of fibroblast growth factors to block the formation of malignant pleural mesothelioma cells in laboratory experiments. The result was less tumor growth in the laboratory mice.
“Our data show that blocking the fibroblast growth factor could be a new and more efficient mesothelioma treatment,” Schlech said.
 Cancer Research: April 15, 2012; Volume 72, Issue 8, Supplement 1