A collaborative research program between Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and New York University has yielded promising results in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma. This cancer develops in the mesothelium – a thin membrane protecting the internal organs of the chest and abdomen. In mostly all cases the disease is caused by exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma is resistant to most anti-cancer drugs and currently has no effective treatment. The research team at Technion-Israel Institute and NYU found that mesothelioma cancer cells use the heparanase enzyme to break tissue barriers surrounding the developing tumor and attract blood vessels to nourish it. The greater the amount of heparanase in the mesothelioma patient, the shorter is his or her life expectancy. The researchers succeeded in disrupting this cycle in test animal experiments using heparanase inhibitors. These inhibitors significantly suppressed tumor growth and greatly extended the survival ability of the test animals – more effectively than conventional chemotherapy used to treat this type of cancer. The researchers will soon be conducting a clinical trial to examine the therapeutic potential of the heparanase inhibitors in this deadly disease.
While this research looks positive and brings hope to those who suffer from this deadly disease, there are still thousands who are diagnosed around the world each year with mesothelioma. For over 40 years the Serling Law Firm has been the Premier Lawyers for Asbestos Litigation in Michigan and also collaborating with asbestos firms across the US and overseas.