Internal Hope: Using a Patient’s Genes to Fight Mesothelioma

January 22, 2013  |  Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma has long been one of the most perplexing and difficult cancers for medical practitioners to treat. Over the past 15 years, mesothelioma researchers have been steadfast in their efforts to improve the efficacy of care, but it has been a long and difficult road.  Thankfully, due to comprehensive medical developments such as the Moonshots Program and the new High Mortality Cancer legislation, progress is speeding up.

Last November, Baron and Budd reported on the findings of a new biomarker, MED12, and how it demonstrated promising results in identifying and possibly augmenting chemo-resistant cells in mesothelioma patients. Now, researchers from the University of Iowa and Brigham Young University report that they have identified a new biomarker that may also prove effective in eradicating drug resistance in to all types of cancer.

Chemotherapy is commonly used in conjunction with other forms of therapies when treating a patient with mesothelioma.  Often, a patient can develop drug-resistant cancer cells that make the therapy ineffective and subsequently allows the cancer to spread. A biomarker, or biological marker, is an indicator of a biological state.  Biomarkers are useful in diagnosing a patient with a particular disease as well as prescribing the appropriate treatment methods.

In a study of the gene expression profiles of 2,500 patient’s cells with eight different cancers, researchers found that an increase in the NEK2 gene resulted in drug resistance and, ultimately, death.  According to Dr. Guido Tricot, Director of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Bone Marrow Transplant and Myeloma Program at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the findings were not unique to a specific type of cancer. An increase in NEK2 caused the same results in each of the cancers that were studied.

Most importantly, the study concluded that suppressing the NEK2 gene in cancer cells restored sensitivity to drug therapy, stimulated cell death and hindered cancer growth. The research team is now focused on creating compounds to suppress NEK2 in efforts to overcome chemo-resistance in cancer cells. The group predicts that their findings may be available for practitioners to use within the next few years.

It is with pleasure that Baron and Budd can report news of progress in the field of cancer research. The mesothelioma law firm has been representing asbestos patients and their families for 35 years and wholeheartedly supports the medical community in their efforts to advance mesothelioma treatment. Baron and Budd is dedicated to providing the most current, relevant and comprehensive medical information to the mesothelioma community in addition to fighting against the asbestos companies responsible for mesothelioma.

To learn more about how Baron and Budd fights to protect those affected by mesothelioma, visit our dedicated website, Fight Mesothelioma.

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