Scottish Mesothelioma Researcher Explains Pandemic’s Impact on Work

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is one of the most challenging forms of cancer to treat. It is always considered a terminal diagnosis, and will likely remain so until some kind of breakthrough is achieved by researchers. But research into the rare malignancy, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, came to a sudden halt as COVID-19 spread across the globe. Now a Scottish researcher has returned to his lab and is speaking about the impact that the work stoppage has had on scientific progress.

Mesothelioma Researchers Are Slowly Returning to Their Laboratories

As global lockdowns begin to ease and people return to their workplaces, mesothelioma researchers are trying to pick up where they left off, and even to make up for lost time. Among them are Dr. Carsten Hansen and his team at the Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Like many other United Kingdom countries, Scotland sees a disproportionately high number of asbestos-related deaths. This is particularly true in its shipbuilding community.

When Scotland locked down and asked its citizens to stay home, Dr. Hansen’s mesothelioma research was brought to a sudden halt. Many cells were put into frozen storage, while other studies and experiments that had been years in the making had to be terminated. “Although we took great care in safeguarding our experiments and newly generated cellular model systems, unfortunately the timing of the complete lockdown meant that we lost a few critical cell lines that we now need to re-establish.” 

Despite Some Mesothelioma Studies Terminating, Some Work Continued

Dr. Hansen says that though the global pandemic caused some of the mesothelioma work to be stopped, other research was continued from scientists’ homes.  “Experimental wise we managed to submit samples for large-scale analysis just before lockdown, which meant that we could analyze these data in-depth while working from home. Overall, I am impressed how my team came together and worked through these challenging times.”

Now that they are back to their laboratories, he and his team hope to continue their mesothelioma research. They had received significant funding for a three-year research project, but now are worried as to whether any new funding will be forthcoming.

Though the pace of some mesothelioma research slowed as a result of the global pandemic, other studies have continued. For information on new innovations and state-of-the-art treatment, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

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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