Mesothelioma has been a constant killer for decades, and we’re only now just starting to understand its impact and how to handle it. For sufferers of this disease, every breath can feel like torture, and the lack of available research can be maddening. There is hope, however, as new research and techniques are bringing us one step closer to a cure.
Research on Meso Causes
The role of asbestos in Mesothelioma is well documented. As the fibers enter the lungs, they slowly shred and cut the delicate tissues, and once they lock themselves in, they don’t leave. The long-term result of having asbestos in your lungs, is that the cells in contact with it will change over time, and become cancerous.
While research has shown a strong correlation between Mesothelioma and asbestos, to the point that thankfully asbestos is no longer used in building materials, other factors are also being considered. For instance, the virus SV40 has recently been linked to lung cancer, and may also play a role in how people develop Mesothelioma.
Existing Treatment Research
Mesothelioma is a cancer, and as a result, it is treated with the same techniques used to treat other cancers throughout the body. While some of these techniques only delay the onset of disease, they have all shown signs of effectiveness to one degree or another.
The most common treatment is Chemotherapy, which tries to irradiate the cancerous cells throughout the body. This treatment is not 100%, and can be damaging to healthy cells as well as cancerous ones.
Photodynamic therapy is a relatively new treatment that has shown some success. A light sensitive drug is injected into problem areas of the body, and as it moves through your system, it attracts cancerous cells. Then, a rod with a red light is inserted into the body, activating the drug and killing the cancer. While this tends to focus on a small area of the body, it also means that there is less of a chance for damage to your system overall.
Targeted drugs are also commonly used. There are scores of anti-cancer drugs on the market, and many of them focus heavily on lung cancer. While some of these are more powerful than others, their effects are not always conclusive. As part of the ongoing research, many people find themselves on medical trials of drugs that might not even have a discernible effect on Mesothelioma.
New Treatment Studies
Virus therapies have gotten a lot of attention in the media as of late. While not always effective, virus therapy works by being injected into the body in targeted areas, and the designer viruses target cancerous cells, killing them. This doesn’t always work, and the body does tend to attack the virus just as it would any foreign invader, but the results for those trying it have been promising.
Immunotherapy has shown some extremely promising results as well. Immune blood cells are taken from a patient and then used in infusions to make the body respond to the foreign cancer cells. The immune cells help the body to activate its natural defenses, and help your own body to kill the Mesothelioma.
Gene therapy is new, and has shown some interesting results. A virus is constructed to insert a gene into cancer-ridden cells that will kill it, and then the virus is injected into the body. The virus multiplies, feeds off the cancer, and when it injects the cancer, it weakens it to the point that it either dies, or the body has a fighting chance at wiping it out. While still in early stages, Mesothelioma sufferers have shown signs of improvement from this treatment. Still, this method has not proven to be 100% effective.
Mesothelioma is a horrible disease, and for too long, it has claimed the lives of workers and their families world-wide. While research on its causes was suppressed for years, scientists are now free to fully study this deadly epidemic and to try to find a cure.
While we may not have a definitive means of defeating Mesothelioma yet, we are closer than ever to making sure this terrible killer doesn’t claim another victim. Those who are suffering, can finally breathe a sigh of relief.