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Discovery Opens Door for New Options in Prevention and Treatment of Mesothelioma
Date:7/8/2010

Study released last week, funded by grants from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and the National Cancer Institute, explains how asbestos causes mesothelioma, and opens the way for new possibilities in treatment and prevention of this aggressive and deadly cancer.

(PRWEB) July 8, 2010 -- Last Monday, in journal proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences, researchers published an answer to a question plaguing the research community across the world for over half a century: How does asbestos cause cancer? This remarkable discovery is already yielding a clinical trial, and may help researchers prevent or slow mesothelioma growth in exposed and affected individuals.

The study, led by Drs. Haining Yang and Michele Carbone at the University of Hawai’i Cancer Research Center and funded by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), shows that asbestos deposited into the tissues initiates a sequence of processes resulting in inflammatory reactions, which then cause mutations promoting tumor growth. HMGB1, a molecule that is released by cells exposed to asbestos, regulates this inflammatory reaction. HMGB1 triggers the chronic inflammatory process that over the course of many years leads to mesothelioma.

In their paper, Drs. Yang and Carbone propose the notion that by targeting HMGB1 and by preventing these inflammatory reactions from occurring, it may be possible to decrease the incidence of cancer and mesothelioma among exposed populations, and slow tumor growth in those already affected. This premise will be tested in the upcoming clinical trial targeting a region of Turkey where more than half of the population dies of mesothelioma.    

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