Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It has long been understood that asbestos exposure leads to the development of mesothelioma, but now researchers finally understand why. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) recently published a study revealing the physical mechanisms that cause tumors to develop when the body encounters asbestos. These mechanisms may hold the key to creating and refining mesothelioma treatments and, possibly prevent the disease from developing.
Asbestos Fibers Activate Immune System
When asbestos becomes airborne, the particles can be inhaled or ingested. To observe what happens when asbestos enters the body, the Swiss researchers injected the abdominal cavities of mice with asbestos fibers. They discovered that it is the physical structure of asbestos, not the chemical properties, that make it hazardous. The fibers get lodged in the mesothelium, a cell layer surrounding the organs in the chest and abdomen. Once there, it is difficult for the lymphatic system to remove these fibers, and the longer they remain there, the more damage they can do to the surrounding tissue.
This damage triggers an immune response, causing inflammation and floods the area with white blood cells. Attempts to repair the inflamed tissue result in the proliferation of new cells, some of which have started to mutate. Researchers found numerous mutations in the RNA, a copy of DNA; this is consistent with studies from human mesothelioma patients, who have shown high levels of the enzyme that causes RNA mutations. These mutations inhibit the immune system’s attempts to repair the tissue, which also allows tumors to grow unchecked.
Behavior of Asbestos Could Help Inform Treatment
Understanding how these asbestos particles lead to tumor growth could change the landscape of mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment. Recognizing the early signs of inflammation in the mesothelium can help doctors make an early diagnosis, which physicians agree is the key to a good prognosis. Examining how the mutations affect the immune response is also critical to developing effective therapies. Numerous hospitals, including facilities in Switzerland, Spain, and the United Kingdom, are already exploring immunotherapy approaches to combating mesothelioma and may benefit from this knowledge.
New diagnostic and therapeutic tools are good news for mesothelioma patients. The disease can lay dormant in the body for decades after the initial asbestos exposure, but once diagnosed, patients are often left with a limited life expectancy. There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, and the disease is notoriously resistant to many common cancer treatments, leaving patients with few options.
New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Victims of Asbestos Exposure
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, call the New Jersey mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is responsible for your asbestos exposure and hold them accountable. We are committed to obtaining the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your treatment. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help mesothelioma patients and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 877-743-4652 or contact us online for an initial consultation.