New hope for patients suffering from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos
Written by Agencies|Published : January 20, 2014 6:35 PM IST
Researchers have come closer to finding a cure for Mesothelioma - a very aggressive cancer associated with asbestos exposure - usually diagnosed in an advanced stage.
In December, the research team of Antonio Giordano, an internationally renowned pathologist, Director and Founder of the Sbarro Health Research Organization in Philadelphia, PA and Professor of Pathology and Oncology at the University of Siena, Italy, published two separate studies aiming to address the urgent need to identify possible new methods for mesothelioma treatment.
In the first study, published in the scientific journal Cell Cycle, Giordano's researchers tested on mesothelioma cells the effect of two drugs designed to reactivate the p53 protein, one of the most important 'tumor suppressors', which is turned off in most human cancers. (Read: 10 simple lifestyle changes to prevent cancer)
Lead author Francesca Pentimalli of the National Cancer Institute of Naples "In mesothelioma, although p53 is rarely mutated, it is inactivated by alterations in its pathway. Both of the drugs used in the study target p53, but with different mechanisms of action. One in particular, called RITA, proved to be very toxic. Specifically, RITA caused mesothelioma cells, and not 'healthy' cells, to undergo apoptosis a type of programmed cell death that occurs through the activation of a specific 'cascade' of events. (Read: Cancer in women awareness and recognising the symptoms early is the key)
The second study, published online in Cancer Biology and Therapy and led by Paola Indovina of the University of Siena and the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Temple University in Philadelphia, was designed along the same lines as the first study. (Read: Living (and dying) with cancer)
In the second study, the authors tested, for the first time in mesothelioma, a new drug called MK-1775 in combination with cisplatin. MK-1775 is a selective inhibitor of WEE1, a protein that is crucial in activating a 'checkpoint' for the repair of damaged DNA before the cell starts its division process. (Read: 10 brave celebs who fought cancer)