UK Fails To Fund Asbestos Group for Mesothelioma Research

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The search for a mesothelioma cure is still underway, and a number of medical researchers are dedicating their time to extensive clinical and laboratory tests in hopes of eradicating this rare cancer.

While many promising developments have been made to fight the disease, adequate funding for future projects must be secured to ensure further progress.

Caused almost exclusively by asbestos exposure, asbestos cancer claims 2,000 to 3,000 lives a year in the United States alone. Since no known cure currently exists, further research is undoubtedly necessary. Unfortunately, one major source of funding for research in the United Kingdom failed to follow through on a 2010 promise to invest money into research by creating a National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease (NCARD).

When asked how much money would be provided for research over the next three years, health minister Simon Burns simply stated that the National Institute for Health Research and the Medical Research Council was still accepting applications for funding. No mention was made of NCARD or the Government’s prior commitment to help launch the organization.

The union then questioned the coalition Government’s estimated importance of the disease. With a prognosis of less than 10 months after diagnosis in the United Kingdom, more effective treatment options are certainly necessary to improve the life expectancy associated with mesothelioma.

While advocates continue to secure funding for further research, patients can contribute to research by participating in clinical trials that test potential new drugs and procedures.

Before a new treatment can be approved for widespread use, the therapy in question must be tested and shown to have a safe and significant affect on human patients. Clinical studies to assess treatment options are typically sponsored at a hospital or cancer center and are performed under strict guidelines. Immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy are two treatments that have been recently introduced after promising results were recorded during clinical trials.

Doctors and oncologists are better able to treat their patients after studying new breakthroughs in the field. In 2002, 9 percent of patients survived for five years after diagnosis in the United States. The U.S. five-year survival rate has currently increased to 10 percent of patients. Furthermore, in the 1990s, patients rarely lived a year after diagnosis, while now around 40 percent survive for a year or more in the United States. Doctors hope that medical advancement s can continue to improve the global mesothelioma survival rate in the years to come.


Joining the team in February 2008 as a writer and editor, Michelle Whitmer has translated medical jargon into patient-friendly information at Asbestos.com for more than eight years. Michelle is a registered yoga teacher, a member of the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine, and was quoted by The New York Times on the risks of asbestos exposure. If you have a story idea for Michelle, please email her at michelle@asbestos.com.

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