Wake Forest Study Needs Patients To Look Closer at Genetic Link

Dr. Jill Ohar

Dr. Jill Ohar has studied mesothelioma and asbestos exposure for more than 20 years, knowing just how lucky her own family was, yet not exactly sure why.

She still seeks answers — for herself and for so many others.

Ohar, a professor at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, wants to complete an extensive profile of genetic characteristics to determine exactly why some people are predisposed to developing mesothelioma, a lethal cancer.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer — only an estimated 3,000 people are diagnosed annually in the United States — that stems almost exclusively from exposure to asbestos, most often from a blue-collar workplace. What interests Ohar is why some people who are exposed to asbestos later develop a related disease and others with almost the exact same exposure level never develop the cancer or a related illness.

“Despite this huge number of people with significant exposure to asbestos, there are a relatively small number of cases,” she told Asbestos.com this week. “Naturally, you want to know why some people get it, and others do not with the same exposure. Some are just genetically predisposed.”

Database of Patients

improved prognosis and significant life extension.

“There is just too little known about this disease, at all levels,” Ohar said. “Too many times I hear about a patient who is being told by his physician that nothing can be done for him, or it’s someone getting inappropriate therapy from a local oncologist who doesn’t see this disease often enough to know. More studies need to be done.”

Participate in the Wake Forest Study

Anyone who would like to participate in the study — which includes the collection of one ounce of blood from the participant and the completion of a two-page survey — or anyone seeking more information about the study can contact Dr. Ohar’s office at Wake Forest (336-716-8426).

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Senior Content Writer

Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers.

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