Researchers working to find a cure for malignant mesothelioma are consistently frustrated. The disease has proven itself able to withstand nearly every protocol, and is especially resistant to the effects of chemotherapy. A group of scientists from the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto have determined that a similar resistance in colon cancer is caused by a type of hibernation that the cancer’s cells go through, and now are theorizing that the same dynamic may be at play in the rare asbestos-related disease.
Chemotherapy’s Effectiveness for Mesothelioma Fades in Months
Whether it is administered to patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or any other type of cancer, chemotherapy works by attacking fast-growing cells. In studying the activity of chemotherapy-resistant colon cancer cells, the Canadian researchers discovered that in the presence of the drugs the cells enter a phase called DTP, or drug-tolerant persister. While in DTP the cells slow their own metabolism and become invulnerable to the effects of chemotherapy.
Like other types of cancer cells, mesothelioma cells have the same ability to enter this DTP phase, which has been compared to hibernation. Cells that go through this process no longer require nutrients from outside of themselves. They wait until the effects of chemotherapy pass, then return to their rapid-growth phase.
Hibernating Mesothelioma Cells May Be Next Treatment Target
If it turns out that mesothelioma cells are hibernating in the same way that colon cancer cells do, researchers will have a powerful new target for treatment. According to lead researcher Dr. Catherin O’Brien, “We need to target cancer cells while they are in this slow-cycling, vulnerable state before they acquire the genetic mutations that drive drug-resistance.” Finding a way to interfere with hibernation could provide significantly longer life expectancies.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, new protocols offer hope for a better future. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.