Exciting New Developments in Research and Technology Regarding Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer

Exciting New Developments in Research and Technology Regarding Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer

Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, is rare, aggressive and fatal.  Researches are discovering more and more about this disease daily, and with that, they are one step closer to finding more effective treatments. In a most recent study, scientists looked into why, after initial treatments, the cancer cells become immune to the chemotherapy, even when different drugs are being used. Some researchers believe that the cancer cells escape into the bloodstream and then form together creating “cancer clusters.”  These “cancer clusters” do not respond to chemotherapy, as no drug is able to permeate. Now that scientists and researchers have a better understanding as to why chemotherapy is often ineffective after a while, they are able to approach treatments from a different angle.

While treatments and drugs are continually being tested and developed, scientists are also looking into detecting the cancer earlier. Mesothelioma can take decades to form, spread, and most importantly, become detectable. This past month, researchers have had positive studies where they believe they are coming close to a breakthrough in being able to detect mesothelioma earlier.

In Turkey, scientists have completed a study in which they may now be able to further enhance the diagnostic blood test for mesothelioma. Scientists used three groups of volunteers – those who were healthy, those who have been exposed to asbestos but do not have mesothelioma, and those who had mesothelioma to determine which biomarkers would aid in diagnosing mesothelioma. Dicle University scientists found that “the two biomarkers with the most potential for correctly identifying malignant mesothelioma were serum mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP) and thioredoxin-1 (TRX).” Knowing which biomarkers to look for, scientists are hopeful they can use this information to detect mesothelioma faster.

Here in the United States, a new microscope has been developed and linked to expediting the diagnosis process.  Developed at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, the microscope is able to create extremely detailed images, which will help locate the cancerous cells. Photos of the cells are taken in mere Nano seconds with laser bursts and special optics. The program then uses a “complex algorithm to interpret what is seen at a 95% accuracy rate.”  This remarkable breakthrough in technology is able to capture 36 million images per second.

Mesothelioma is one of the most deadly cancers that face our society is always fatal. Most who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are already in the later stages of the disease because it is so hard to detect, and are only given about one year to live.  Cancer treatments are often ineffective because by the time mesothelioma is detected, the cancer is too aggressive for treatment. By diagnosing mesothelioma earlier, victims can receive treatments that have the potential to be more effective.

Sources

PRWeb, “Surviving Mesothelioma Reports on Turkish Study Which May Help Refine Diagnostic Blood Test for Mesothelioma,” (April 15, 2015). Link

Terri Oppenheimer, “New Microscope May Enable Faster Diagnosis of Mesothelioma,” Mesothelioma.net (April 14, 2016). Link

Nancy Meredith, “Cancer Clusters Could Be Cause of Mesothelioma’s Chemo-Resistance,” MesotheliomaHelp.org. (April 18, 2016). Link

Gerhard Hamilton, Maximilian Hochmair, Barbara Rath, Lukas Klameth, Robert Zellinger, “Small cell lung cancer: Circulating tumor cells of extended stage patients express a mesenchymal-epithelial transition phenotype,” Taylor Francis Online (February 26, 2016).  Link

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