Scientists searching for answers surrounding the mysteries of mesothelioma and other forms of cancer have spent enormous amounts of time staring at slides in laboratories, firm in their belief that there was likely nothing more to learn about the body itself.
Yet, groundbreaking new research published in the journal Scientific Reports revealed the apparent discovery of a previously unknown organ. It’s been named the interstitium, and its physical aspects are leading scientists to believe that its discovery will make an enormous difference in our understanding of how diseases spread throughout the body.
Mesothelioma patients and others are likely surprised to hear that what is being called one of the largest organs in the body could be something physicians were unaware of, and the researchers who discovered the interstitium explain that they only found it by accident.
The interstitium is essentially a network through which the body’s fluids that are not found inside stalls flows: it is literally the space that is in between cells and organs, and it is all interconnected.
It had not previously been seen because it is only visible when fluid is flowing through it – when it is empty, it flattens like a pancake, and so on medical slides it has always been invisible. When physicians used endoscopes, they noticed areas that they couldn’t identify within the body, and these cavities became apparent.
Further explanation revealed that they are hidden throughout the entire body, in every area where tissues move or are compressed by the pressure of nearby organs or muscles.
Though to the layman, it may not be entirely apparent how this discovery could impact mesothelioma research and treatment, oncologists say that the fluid that runs through the interstitium could hold the answer to how cancer cells metastasize, or how proteins that trigger genetic changes in cells travel from lung tissue to the cells of the mesothelium.
The authors of the study revealing the discovery said, “Our findings necessitate reconsideration of many of the normal functional activities of different organs and of disordered fluid dynamics in the setting of disease, including fibrosis and metastasis.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, this discovery and other research is extremely encouraging, and may lead to more effective treatment of your disease. For more information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.