Biomarker May Help Mesothelioma Patients Combat Resistance to Chemotherapy Treatments

November 28, 2012  |  Mesothelioma

Innovation in mesothelioma research is happening at a staggering pace. This year alone, the clinical trials at multiple research institutions have yielded a myriad of improvements in how oncologists treat mesothelioma.

Currently, chemotherapy, such as crizotinib, is the most used method of treatment for inhibiting the growth of the disease and slowing the symptoms. There are multiple chemotherapeutic methods that can be used to treat mesothelioma but problems arise when the cancer becomes chemo-resistant, which essentially renders the treatments useless. Medical researchers, however, believe they have found a new biomarker that may help identify chemo-resistance in mesothelioma and lung cancer patients and potentially restore drug sensitivity.

Mesothelioma researchers have reported that they have identified a key gene that determines a patient’s resistance to a host of different chemotherapy drugs.  Researchers have found a biomarker that can forecast a patient’s reaction to cancer drugs and aid oncologists in determining the best strategy of treatment.

A biomarker is a molecule or gene in the body that indicates a biological state.  Researchers can use biomarkers to measure how certain people react to various types of treatment. Mesothelioma researchers have also been looking at biomarkers to diagnose mesothelioma and other types of cancers in the early stages and evaluate which treatments work best in patients.

Professor Rene Bernards of the Netherlands Cancer Institute was the senior author in a study that evaluated how a specific biomarker influenced drug resistance.  Bernards and his team of researchers began the study to determine why some patients developed resistance to crizotinib. The group discovered that a protein involved in cell growth and cell death was enhanced when the MED12 biomarker was suppressed. Furthermore, certain cancer drugs, such as crizotinib, were rendered ineffective. The drug responsiveness was restored, however, when the researchers inhibited TGF-betaR signaling in MED12-deficient cells.

In order to prevent drug resistance in mesothelioma patients, Bernards says that researchers must first understand the mechanisms of drug resistance. After establishing what effects that blocking the escape route in MED12-deficient cells has in a mesothelioma patient, researchers may be able to restore a patient’s resistance to chemotherapy drugs.

The mesothelioma lawyers at Baron and Budd applaud the efforts of Professor Rene Bernards and his team of researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. For almost 35 years, the mesothelioma law firm has been dedicated to the advancement of mesothelioma treatment. The firm is committed to delivering the most current, relevant and cohesive information to the mesothelioma community in addition to fighting against the asbestos companies responsible for asbestos-related diseases.

To learn more about how Baron and Budd fights to protect those affected by mesothelioma, visit here.

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