A new study conducted at the University of Leicester reveals the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) in mesothelioma treatment. Mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, currently has limited treatment options and leaves patients with a short life expectancy. Using AI may unlock some of the mystery around the disease and help patients achieve better outcomes.
Mesothelioma is difficult to treat, owing to a number of factors. The disease has a long latency period after the initial asbestos exposure. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they become lodged in the tissue around the lungs and begin to damage the surrounding tissue, but it can take decades for tumors to develop. Mesothelioma symptoms often do not appear until late in the disease’s progression, by which time the prognosis for patients is poor. There is no cure for mesothelioma, and for most patients, survival lasts about 12 to 18 months.
AI Helps Map Progression of Mesothelioma Tumors
The Leicester Mesothelioma Research Programme at the University of Leicester used AI to analyze the DNA of mesothelioma tumors. They found that the progression of the tumors followed a similar evolution across patients. This discovery could be the key to developing effective treatments for the disease. If researchers can map the mutations of the disease based on current patients’ progression, they can use this pattern to predict the progression in future patients or those still in early stages of the disease.
Current treatment methods for mesothelioma are similar to those for other cancers. First-line treatment typically includes chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation, or some combination of the three. Surgery is considered the most effective, if the patient’s tumors are resectable. Mesothelioma surgery can be very aggressive and require significant amounts of tissue to be removed in order to completely eradicate the tumors. Patients who receive a diagnosis in stage I or II of the disease may be eligible for surgery, but oftentimes by the time patients are diagnosed, the disease has spread too far for surgery to be an option. Chemotherapy can help to extend life expectancy for patients, but the five-year survival rate for patients remains extremely low. Radiation is most effective in managing symptoms of the disease, rather than halting its progression.
Emerging treatments such as immunotherapy have shown promise, and late-stage patients may be eligible to join a clinical trial to help measure the effectiveness of these therapies. Having a roadmap of how the disease is likely to progress could revolutionize how doctors approach mesothelioma treatment. Using AI can help oncologists design a more effective course of treatment and improve patient survival. Leicester researchers are hopeful that they can make this AI mapping available in international trials soon.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Victims of Asbestos Exposure
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease, contact the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law. Our knowledgeable, experienced team 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 getting you the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your treatment. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.