The NUMB Gene: A Possible Breakthrough in Mesothelioma Treatment

May 24, 2013  |  Mesothelioma

As researchers across the globe continue to search for more effective mesothelioma treatments, focus continues to turn inward on the body’s own ability to combat the disease. The study of immunology has become the primary area of research in the cancer field. Mesothelioma researchers continue to find indicators that the manipulation of the body’s own immune system may be the best way to fight off cancerous cells. Most recently, a team of researchers from Shandong University in China have found a connection between poor mesothelioma prognosis and low levels of the protein NUMB.

The NUMB protein found in the body is known to function as an anticancer protein by combining with the cancer inhibitor, p53, and preventing its breakdown. A patient with low levels of the NUMB protein is more susceptible to several types of cancer.

According to a recent study in Oncology Reports, levels of the NUMB protein were found to be significantly lower in mesothelioma cells after researchers examined 39 tissue samples of epithelioid mesothelioma. Consequently, the tissue samples with the lowest levels of NUMB also were met with the poorest prognosis. High levels of NUMB were shown to have the reverse effect. After artificially elevating NUMB levels in the mesothelioma tissue, the cells should be cells’ ability increase apoptosis, or natural cell death, significantly increased. In addition to increased apoptosis, elevated levels of NUMB also increased the mesothelioma cells’ sensitivity to cisplatin, one of the leading chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma.

The study suggests that low levels of NUMB may play an active role in the development in of mesothelioma as well as other cancers. By creating an over expression of NUMB in mesothelioma cells, the protein activated cancer -fighting antibodies and suppressed two apoptosis inhibitors, XIAP and survivin, which can be found in many types of tumors.

Researchers believe that the findings of this study could lead to a more effective method of mesothelioma treatment. Currently, a mesothelioma diagnosis is still met with extremely low survival rates. The ability of NUMB to increase apoptosis and activate cancer antibodies could be a potential breakthrough for mesothelioma doctors and their patients.

The mesothelioma law firm of Baron and Budd has been representing the interests of mesothelioma patients for over 35 years. It has remained paramount to the people of Baron and Budd advancements continue to be made in mesothelioma research so that the quality of life for mesothelioma patients’ continue to improve. The law firm continues to donate to several medical organizations and remains committed to serving as a resource for the mesothelioma community.

For more on Baron and Budd, visit here.

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