Italian Researchers Find Silencing Gene May Help Slow Mesothelioma

For researchers investigating malignant mesothelioma, any progress — no matter how incremental — is to be celebrated. The disease has proven remarkably resistant to treatment, so when scientists identify a way to slow the rare form of cancer’s spread it is notable. Such is the case of a recent discovery by Italian researchers that is detailed in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. The study showed that when they silenced a protein-coding gene called PRMT5 in specific lines of the disease, it slowed cell growth and eliminated the cells’ ability to form new colonies.

Scientists Target PRMT5 Gene in Mesothelioma Patients to Slow Disease’s Progress

The mesothelioma researchers hailed from the Sbarro Health Research Organization at Temple University, who are working in collaboration with scientists from the University of Siena in Italy. Led by Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD, they targeted the PRMT5 gene (Protein Arginine Methyltransferase 5) found in Methylthioadenosine phosphorylase-deleted (MTAP) mesothelioma cells. 

The reason that they targeted this specific type of mesothelioma cells is that previous determined found that it leads to a vulnerability to inhibiting PRMT5. When PRMT is shut off, malignant mesothelioma cell growth slows, and so do other of the cells’ deadly abilities.

Study Suggests Potential for Effective Mesothelioma Treatment

Though only a subset of malignant mesothelioma patients have this particular genetic mutation, for those that do have it the treatment could prove effective and extend survival. Speaking on their findings, Dr. Giordano said, “These promising results can help us to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the MM’s progression and that could be therapeutically exploited,” while his colleague, from the University of Siena, Dr. Marcella Barbarino, said, “Our results are in agreement with previous studies on other cancers and represent a starting point for the evaluation of PRMT5 inhibitors in MTAP-deleted mesothelioma.”

Every day there are new strides made in finding effective treatments for malignant mesothelioma. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with this challenging illness and you need information on treatment or other resources, contact the Patient Advocates at today at  1-800-692-8608 to learn how we can help.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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