Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

Mesothelioma research is indeed an extensive undertaking as it took nearly one century of research for doctors to find out what actually causes this cancer, who is at risk for contracting the cancer, what symptoms correspond its presence and what specific tools are most useful at diagnosing it. These strides dramatically affected how medical professionals deal with asbestos cancer, yet the investigation is rarely accomplished. The current endeavors on developing more efficacious treatmentsand eventual care are two of the most important objectives of mesothelioma research.

Researchers from various parts of the globe are probing for ways to combat this particular disease which has grown into a worldwide issue, especially now in developing nations. Lots of works are being carried done in Australia, Europe, Asia, and North America by scientists and clinicians looking to move closer to finding a more efficacious cure for cancer which is caused by the exposure to asbestos fibers and products. At an international level, much research focusing on mesothelioma takes place in Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and China. The International Mesothelioma Interest Group, which is also known as IMIG, unites clinicians and researchers from around the globe to work together and share information on how to deal with mesothelioma. IMIG hosts an international conference every other year where the latest findings in research and treatment are shared, which helps to drive progress in therapeutically managing the disease.

The United States Food and Drug Administration, known as FDA, overseas the drugs that have been tested, and the nation’s top cancer centers and health facilities look at novel treatment and therapies. Since there is no cure for asbestos caused diseases, the expectation for the future is that doctors will be able to classify them as a chronic disease, by using treatment plants that are designed to each patient’s case and the genetic makeup.

Pharmaceutical Breakthroughs

There are two chemotherapy medications that have been approved by FDA for the treatment of mesothelioma. First, being Alimta, which is devoted to stopping cell division. It is often managed along with the platinum-based chemotherapy agent, known as Cisplatin, in the most effective chemotherapy combination.

At the moment, Phase two and three trial in France are being carried out to investigate whether the addition of Avastin to the tested combination of Cisplatin and Alimat can improve the overall survival. Avastin is actually a targeted drug with anti-angiogenesis, which halts or slows new blood vessel growth which enables the metastasis of mesothelioma cancer. Researchers hope that the addition of Avastin will postpone the cancer spread and increase the overall rate of survival. Targeted therapies are being probed.

These drugs aim at specific biological steps in the life cycle of cancerous cell. Instead of inhibiting all quickly dividing cells just like what chemotherapy drugs do, targeted therapies interfere with particular molecules which are necessary for tumor growth. In jolly 2013, a targeted drug, known as defactinib has inhibits cancer stem cells, resulting in the drug being approved by FDA. A phase II clinical trial testing defactinib, which is also called COMMAND (the Control of Mesothelioma with Maintenance Defactinib, is involving participants in eleven countries.

Stage of Research processStep of Development
Year 1 to 3


Basic research
Year 4 to 6


Testing in pre-clinical scope by using in vitro, which is artificially created environments, and animal trials
Year 7 to 10


Clinical testing through Phase I, II, and III clinical experiments
Year 10


Registering the drug with the United States Food and Drug Administration
Year 11


Introduction of the drug to the public
Year 11 to 15Product monitoring and phase IV trials in clinical scope

Clinical trials are one of the major ways that most researchers can collect information pertinent to a specific drug or steps’ impact on patients. Since asbestos cancers are quite rare, any chance to observe patient’s response to emergent treatment can really help medical researchers to understand the impact of the therapy in question. Because the purpose of clinical trials is to explore treatments that evinced some success and safety in an experimental setting, participants can really get the advantage from the drug or therapy routine which is not yet made available through their doctor or specialist. These particular trial are only professionally monitored, and the nature of the therapies or treatment as well as the risks and benefit are explained to patient before they give their informed agreement to take part. Clinical trials include four phases, each of which focuses on an important aspect of product development. The first phase is meant to determine the basic information such as the methods of administration or drug dosage. The second phase focuses on the treatment’s safety and the interaction with designated target. The third phase compares the new method of treatment to current alternatives. If it appears to affect the prognosis significantly, FDA approval will be given, which can take up until twelve months. The fourth phase begins after the drug has been consented for mass use and it gets accepted clinically. This evaluation and monitoring are meant to measure its sustained effects on a wider population of patients.

Funding Mesothelioma Applied Research

Advocacy groups have raised asbestos-related disease out of obscurity and in certain cases secured federal funding for eligible studies. In 2008 alone, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) classified mesothelioma in the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program and the very first ever DoD funding for asbestos cancer was awarded to a scientist or researcher for a massive amount of $1.3 million. A number of smaller funding, private grants, and donations from independent fundraisers have been awarded to other research organizations.

How to Raise Awareness for Mesothelioma Applied Research

26th of September every year is known as the Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Those that support mesothelioma and asbestos awareness oftentimes travel to New York and take part in a “Today Show” audience with shirts and signs to raise the profile of the disease. In 2011, the supporters received more than 2 minutes of visual recognition and one volunteer had fifteen seconds of airtime with Al Roker to point out their case. In the small milieu of asbestos cancer, it was indeed a banner moment.

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