The more researchers understand about how malignant mesothelioma gains a foothold and then spreads throughout the body, the better they will be able to treat it. That’s why specialists who treat the rare and fatal form of asbestos-related cancer are encouraged by news of a new technology they hope will allow them to track the migration of single cancer cells in real time.
New Technology May Reveal Path of Mesothelioma Cell Migration
The new technology is being referred to as GPS for cancer cells, and though it is not specifically being tested on malignant mesothelioma, the expectation is that it will be useful in tracking the movement of all types of cancer cells. Having the ability to track these cells would facilitate earlier targeted treatments, potentially extending patient survival and improving quality of life.
The development of CellGPS comes from the Stanford University School of Medicine. It is currently being tested on mice, who are being injected with radiolabeled cancer cells that emit gamma rays and are then tracked in real time using a PET scanner.
GPS Tracking Can Also Be Used to Track Immunotherapy Response in Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is almost always diagnosed when it has already advanced to a significant degree, leaving patients with few good options and short survival times. Being able to dynamically track the path of mesothelioma cells would not only help specialists to target radiation therapy and surgery, but also to see how cell migration is affected by the application of immunotherapy.
Speaking of their hopes for the future, principal investigator Guillem Pratx said, “We plan to push the technology to enable tracking of multiple single cells at the same time in the same individual by multiplexing the PET signals. We also plan to investigate new applications where cell migration is key, primarily in the area of immune cell tracking for cancer immunotherapy applications, stem cell regenerative medicine, and more advanced models of cancer metastasis.”
Being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma is a frightening experience, but innovative technologies have made significant improvement in treatment options. For information on the resources available to you, contact the compassionate Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.