Mesothelioma is a rare and incurable cancer effecting the lining of the lungs pleura), heart (pericardium) and abdominal cavity (peritoneum). It is caused by exposure to asbestos particles, and although the symptoms are similar to those of lung cancer, it is resistant to many common lung cancer treatments. Researchers around the world are exploring novel treatment methods, such as gene therapy, to combat this devastating disease. An international research team may have just made a significant breakthrough, identifying a microRNA molecule that may reduce the rate of metastasis (spread) in mesothelioma patients.
The microRNA molecule, known as miR-21-5p, works by suppressing mesothelin in malignant pleural mesothelioma cells. Mesothelin is a protein biomarker that regulates cell proliferation. It is overexpressed in many forms of cancer, including pancreatic, colorectal, ovarian, and non-small cell lung cancers, as well as mesothelioma. While the role of mesothelin in malignant tumors is unclear, it is believed to affect the rate at which tumors metastasize.
MicroRNA Could Be Key to Halting the Spread of Mesothelioma
MiR-21-5p is in itself a predictive biomarker for aggressive cancers, including rectal cancer. Its overexpression can negatively affect reactions to certain treatment methods. In malignant pleural mesothelioma, however, the miR-21-5p strand appears to act as a tumor suppressant by regulating levels of mesothelin. The research team, based at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, hypothesizes that miR-21-5p could be introduced to malignant cells to reduce the production of mesothelin and slow the progression of the disease.
Gene therapy has become a common area of study as mesothelioma researchers look for effective treatments for this deadly form of cancer. A number of methods have emerged to treat the disease at the molecular level, all of which target genes based on their overexpression of mesothelin. MicroRNA could also prove to be an effective diagnostic tool, helping physicians to distinguish between mesothelioma and other types of metastatic carcinoma. More research is needed to determine whether miR-21-5p can be considered a predictive biomarker for mesothelioma.
The key to survival for mesothelioma patients is early diagnosis. The disease can lay dormant for decades after the initial asbestos exposure while cancerous cells continue to spread. When symptoms do appear, they can easily be misdiagnosed as lung cancer or another respiratory condition. Mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until it reaches stage III or IV, when it may be too late to explore certain treatment options, including surgery. While it may take time for miR-21-5p to be a verified treatment method, the discovery is good news for asbestos exposure victims whose disease may still be developing.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Obtain Compensation for Mesothelioma Patients
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, call the Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Shein Law. Our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault for your asbestos exposure and prepare an aggressive legal strategy to hold them accountable. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help asbestos exposure victims throughout the region. Call us today at 1-877-SHEINLAW (743-4652) or contact us online to discuss your case with a dedicated mesothelioma lawyer.