There are many reasons why malignant mesothelioma is so difficult to treat, including the fact that the condition has a long latency period that allows its tumors to grow and spread long before it is detected. But though the clinical manifestation is a significant problem, scientists point to a lack of understanding the disease’s molecular characteristics, which makes it a challenge to find therapies that effectively kill mesothelioma tumor cells. Now scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have published a report that has identified three different sets of tumors with their own unique features.
New Research May Guide Future Treatment
The mesothelioma study conducted by the IARC was published in the journal EBioMedicine, and it outlines unique profiles of mesothelioma tumors that may guide future treatment. Current therapies have only provided a median survival of two years after diagnosis for patients diagnosed with the rare, asbestos-related disease.
By determining the exact molecular profile of malignant pleural mesothelioma, scientists are able to improve our understanding of the tumors’ internal processes, and how to stop them.
How A Tumor’s Molecular Characteristics Guide Treatment
Matthieu Foll, Ph.D is a scientist in the Genetic Cancer Susceptibility Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and lead author of the mesothelioma tumor study. He explains how understanding a tumor’s molecular characteristics guides treatment strategies. “Innovative sequencing technologies that provide information on the molecular characteristics of tumors can now uncover differences among tumors that look quite similar under the microscope. The expression of proteins associated with the immune and vascular systems in the tumors enabled us to identify molecular profiles that may explain the differences in overall survival and response to treatment.”
The IARC is an agency of the World Health Organization, and its members worked with French scientists to pull data from the MESOPATH/MESOBANK database, an international databank housing samples of mesothelioma in furtherance of scientific study.
Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones watch and wait for scientific progress in the fight against the rare and fatal asbestos-related disease. If you need information on the progress that’s been made, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.