The Director of the Imperial College London’s National Center for Mesothelioma Research has high hopes for a future cure for the rare and fatal form of cancer. Sitting down for an interview with reporters from the college for a comprehensive interview, Dr. Maija Maskunitty spoke extensively about the research that the center has been conducting, and what they are pursuing in the immediate future.
The need for research into mesothelioma is extremely important in the United Kingdom: roughly 2,500 people die of the disease there each year, and an estimated 55,000 will have been diagnosed in the next 30 years. The country’s high incidence rate of the disease is due to its constant use of asbestos in the nation’s shipbuilding industry, as well as the extensive rebuilding that was needed following the devastation of World War II. Though the discovery of asbestos’ dangers came in the mid-1970s, it was not banned until 1999, and many of the existing structures throughout the city continue to have asbestos in place. When people are exposed to asbestos fibers by ingesting or inhaling them, the fibers get lodged in the body and can eventually form cancerous tumors.
To combat the disease, the National Center for Mesothelioma Research at Imperial College London was founded in 2016, with a stated mission of leading research into the causes of mesothelioma, better diagnostic tools, and improved therapies, including genetic and genomic treatments. Highlights of this past year’s research include finding genetic weaknesses in mesothelioma tumors, and moving forward they plan to exploit those weaknesses in treatment protocols. They also hope to improve diagnosis of malignant pleural effusions and to better understand the most effective use of immunotherapy.
Pursuing a robust program of research is the surest way to improve the quality of life for those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma, with hopes that researchers will eventually find a cure for this always fatal disease. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, you need access to the best information available. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are here to help: contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.