Research & Clinical Trials

Mesothelioma Research Gets $3.58 Million Boost At Hawaii Cancer Center

Written By:
June 23, 2011
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Written By: Tim Povtak,
June 23, 2011

Dr. Michele Carbone at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center has been renowned the past several years as one of the world’s leaders in the fight against asbestos cancer.

This will only make him better.

The Cancer Center announced Wednesday a $3.58 million donation designated specifically for mesothelioma research, Carbone’s specialty. It is the second-largest donation in the UH Cancer Center’s history.

“This gift is critical to support our efforts to generate discoveries that will aid in the prevention of mesothelioma and the development of new therapies,” Carbone said. “This will solidify Hawaii as the leading place in the research of mesothelioma.”

Mesothelioma has no known cure and a five-year survival rate of 10 percent. There are 2,000 to 3,000 patients diagnosed in the United States each year. The cancer is considerably worse in other parts of the world, particularly where asbestos still is less regulated.

Carbone has spent parts of the past 15 years studying a region in Turkey, where nearly 50 percent of its residents have died from the disease. His study attracted considerable attention worldwide.

He has been at the University of Hawaii since 2006, first as director of thoracic oncology and then as the director of the cancer center.

“We’re proud that Dr. Carbone’s team is leading the world in this area of discovery. Mesothelioma is a serious public-health problem,” said Virginia Hinshaw, chancellor at the University of Hawaii Manoa. “This gift validates their efforts and will help them remain at the forefront of thoracic oncology research.”

Carbone and his team are in the midst of a clinical trial sponsored by the Early Detection Research Network of the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Early detection is critical, but particularly troublesome, with this cancer, which has a latency period of up to 50 years. It usually is not detected until the later stages, which makes the survival rate so low.

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