Research & Clinical Trials

MARF Mesothelioma Research Grants Focus on Promising Projects

Written By:
Feb 17, 2012
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Written By: Mark Hall,
February 17, 2012

The future of mesothelioma research looks promising, thanks to $500,000 in grants to scientists trying to find a cure.

Genome sequencing, antibody therapy treatments, chemosensitivity, testing miRNA as a biomarker and the study of the BAP1 gene are all areas that will be investigated more thoroughly with the infusion of grant money. Four different research centers will tackle the five projects, including notable institutions like Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The grants are provided by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, or MARF. All the projects are tasked with the mission of solving problems related to mesothelioma and treatment for it.

Projects with a Mission

The projects covers multiple areas of research. One study will focus on antibody therapy with the aim of testing activity of a gene known as mAb in animal models of human mesothelioma. The goal is to translate this research into human trials, with the hope that it will result in new therapy options.

Another study will examine the entire genome data of 10 specific tumor types to find insights into the mechanics of the cancer cells. In a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, a protein known as interferon gama will be examined to see how it responds to chemosensitivity of mesothelioma drug Pemetrexed.

The five funded studies were picked out of 46 applicants.

“The Science Advisory Board peer-review process allows us to ensure that only the best and most promising studies are funded,” MARF Director Kathy Wiedemer said.

Future of Research

Researchers have been studying mesothelioma for decades and have yet to fully understand this cancer. Scientists attribute multiple factors for limiting their progress, including the facts that there are such few cases to study, most treatments don’t work, the disease is heterogeneous and that staging is unreliable.

Many hope that the $500,000 eventually will result in more curative treatments, earlier diagnoses and a better quality of life for patients.

Treatments that are expected to lead the future of this cancer include immunotherapy, gene therapy, anti-angiogenesis and photodynamic therapy. Experimental tests through clinical trials will prove essential as potential discoveries must be accurately tested.

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