Mesothelioma Research

Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive form of cancer for which medical science has yet to find an effective treatment. Though there’s been some progress in extending patient survival and improving quality of life, no cure has been found. The world’s best researchers have dedicated themselves to finding an answer to this rare and fatal disease, and every day they get a little bit closer.

Mesothelioma research pursues a number of important questions, including:

  • How does contact with asbestos fibers cause mesothelioma’s cell mutations?
  • What is the best way to prevent people from getting mesothelioma?
  • Can current therapies be improved or combined in a way that extends survival or cures mesothelioma?
  • Can innovative new technologies provide an answer to mesothelioma?

Asbestos and Its Role in Malignant Mesothelioma

Asbestos’ role in the development of malignant mesothelioma is already well established, but what is not well known is the specific mechanism that triggers the deadly cell mutations. Understanding how asbestos interacts with the DNA in cells may lead to science discovering a way to prevent the cancer from taking hold.

Researchers are also trying to find the best way to protect those who are exposed to asbestos. Because asbestos is still in use in many industries, and is still in place in existing buildings and infrastructure, this is an increasingly pressing concern.

Improving Current Mesothelioma Treatments

In most cases, mesothelioma is currently treated using a multi-modality approach that combines the use of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. Researchers are constantly testing different applications of these protocols to determine what combination, dosage, duration and frequency of treatment is most effective in halting the progression of the disease. There is also a strong focus on providing patients with the greatest quality of life and relief from their symptoms as they undergo treatment.

New Technologies

There are a number of promising medical innovations that are currently being developed and tested in hospitals and laboratories around the world. These include:

  • Targeted Drugs – These medications work in a way that differs from chemotherapy in that their mechanism targets specific proteins found only within malignant mesothelioma cells.
  • Photodynamic Therapy – This protocol involves the administration of a special light-activated drug that concentrates in cancer cells. Once the drug is in place, the patient undergoes surgery to remove mesothelioma tumors and the surgical site is illuminated using a special light that activates the drug, killing cancer cells that are left behind.
  • Gene Therapy – This protocol introduces new genes into mesothelioma cancer cells by injecting a virus into the body that specifically targets and infects them. Once the new genes have entered the cancerous cells, they can either weaken and kill them or activate a stronger immune response against them.
  • Immunotherapy – Similar to vaccines, immunotherapy activates the body’s immune system to respond in a more robust way to cancer cells.