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Enzyme found On Mesothelial Surface Potential Target for Treatment

In the quest for novel approaches to the delivery of therapeutic treatments for mesothelioma cancer, researchers are constantly searching for new targets.  European researchers are expressing enthusiasm for a cell surface enzyme that has been found to be present in nearly all of the mesothelioma cells that the researchers identified, increasing the potential for it to be a highly effective method of delivering gene therapies of immunotherapeutic treatments.

Presenting their findings in Neoplasma, a journal published by the Slovak Academy of Sciences, researchers tell of their work with Carbonic anhydrases, one of a family of enzymes that are present and active in a number of different biological processes. The specific enzyme that was being analyzed is known as CAIX or carbonic anhydrase IX, and its job is to maintain the correct pH levels of cells.

The researchers have theorized that the enzyme also has a role in the spread of different cancers, and in order to test their theory with reference to its role in the development and spread of mesothelioma they analyzed 51 different units made up of of malignant mesothelioma cells. Some were from pleural mesothelioma and some were from peritoneal mesothelioma, with the vast majority being made up of the epithelioid form of mesothelioma cell rather than sarcomatoid or biphasic cells. All of the cell lines were tested for the presence of the CAIX enzyme.

The testing found that the enzyme was present in all of the cells that were tested with the exception of those that were made up of sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells. The same was true for mesothelium cells that were identified as being healthy – the CAIX cells seem to be nearly ubiquitous for mesothelium cells, whether impacted by mesothelioma or not.

What this means is that though the enzyme cannot be used as a biomarker for the malignant cancer, it can be used as a target for mesothelioma therapies. Previous studies of the enzyme in its role in clear cell renal cell carcinoma have shown that its presence is often an indicator of lack of oxygen in the cell line, and that being the case physicians might be able to target the cells for effective delivery of different therapeutic treatments that would avoid the negative impact that has often been seen on surrounding healthy tissue.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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