A recent discovery by Viennese researchers may hold the key to stopping malignant mesothelioma cells from migrating through the body.
Scientists from the Institute for Hygiene and Applied Immunology of the Center for Pathophysiology, Infectology and Immunology at MedUni Vienna found that a protein primarily found in breast milk may stop the cancerous cells from being able to penetrate tissue barriers.
Malignant mesothelioma forms in the tissues of the mesothelium after asbestos fibers become lodged in the cells. The mutation of the cells’ genetic code and eventual growth of tumors can take decades.
When the tumors become large enough to cause discomfort, mesothelioma diagnosis may follow and treatment can begin. During this point, mesothelioma physicians focus is on killing the cancer cells and stopping them from returning or spreading to other parts of the body.
Researchers believe that their discovery about the actions of the protein lactoferrin can lead to new therapeutic agents that can be used to stop the process of cell migration in cancers like mesothelioma, as well as of certain bacterial infections. It may also prove to be useful in helping to dissolve blood clots.
Researchers learned that the protein lactoferrin stops plasminogen from being activated, and that plasminogen plays an important role in dissolving blood clots and in the immune response.
According to lead investigator Vladimir Leksa, “Malignant tumor cells and some virulent types of bacteria, such as Borrelia, for example, bind and activate human plasminogen in order to penetrate tissue barriers. consequently, the plasminogen system is a useful target for diagnostic and therapeutic strategies into cancer and inflammatory diseases.”
The scientists showed that lactoferrin stops plasminogen activation, blocking tumor cells and certain bacterias from invading healthy tissue. This means that “lactoferrin can be useful as a natural tool for therapeutic interventions, to prevent malignant cells from invading.”
As each day passes, researchers learn more about how to stop malignant mesothelioma and hope grows. If you or someone you love needs information about the resources available for mesothelioma victims, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.