Asbestos cancer cure? A new drug could treat one of world’s deadliest conditions

Asbestos cancer cure? A new drug could treat one of world’s deadliest conditions
  1. Asbestos cancer cure? A new drug could treat one of world’s deadliest conditions
    ASBESTOS causes the very difficult to treat cancer, mesothelioma. But a new drug may be able to fight…


Asbestos: The mineral can cause deadly cancer called mesothelioma

Asbestos was once a popular building material, but it was discovered that exposure to it causes cancer.

Known as mesothelioma, it’s incredibly deadly, but now a new drug to treat it is being tested on 300 British patients.

This comes as rates of the disease have risen six times since the 1970s, and an average of seven people were diagnosed every day with it in the UK in 2013 alone.

It’s hoped this new method treatment - already used for some other types of cancerous tumour - will harness the body’s own immune system to overcome it.


Mesothelioma symptoms: They include chest pains and coughing

"Boosting the immune system by releasing killer T-cells that have previously been blocked could offer us a new way to treat more patients with this devastating disease."

Professor Gareth Griffiths

The drug, nivolumab, is already effective for treating melanoma and kidney cancer.

By blocking a protein called PD-1 on the surface of T-cells, immune system cells can be activated to hunt down and kill cancer cells.

Professor Gareth Griffiths, of the University of Southampton, said: "The UK has one of the world's highest incidences of mesothelioma and currently there aren't many ways to treat it.

"Boosting the immune system by releasing killer T-cells that have previously been blocked could offer us a new way to treat more patients with this devastating disease."


Dangerous material: Houses built or refurbished before might have it

It’s an example of immunotherapy, a type of cancer treatment which boosts the body’s natural defences in order to fight cancer.

Dr Catherine Pickworth, Cancer Research UK's science information officer, said: "Immunotherapy treatments work by turning the power of our immune system against cancer.

"They are already being used routinely to treat advanced skin and kidney cancers, and are showing promise for other types of cancer too.

"This clinical trial will find out whether an immunotherapy drug could benefit people with mesothelioma, which is hard for…

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