New Mesothelioma Treatment? Stanford Scientists Hopeful about Many Cancers

Treatment & Doctors
Reading Time: 3 mins
Publication Date: 03/29/2012
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us

Testimonials

"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Lashawn
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article

APA

Povtak, T. (2021, September 21). New Mesothelioma Treatment? Stanford Scientists Hopeful about Many Cancers. Asbestos.com. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/03/29/stanford-cancer-study-mesothelioma/

MLA

Povtak, Tim. "New Mesothelioma Treatment? Stanford Scientists Hopeful about Many Cancers." Asbestos.com, 21 Sep 2021, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/03/29/stanford-cancer-study-mesothelioma/.

Chicago

Povtak, Tim. "New Mesothelioma Treatment? Stanford Scientists Hopeful about Many Cancers." Asbestos.com. Last modified September 21, 2021. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/03/29/stanford-cancer-study-mesothelioma/.

If mice in the laboratory are any indication — and that’s always a really big if — immunologists at Stanford University School of Medicine may be getting close to a treatment that will allow a body’s own immune system to fight off most cancers.

Scientists at Stanford tested an antibody treatment that was successful in shrinking human liver, prostate, colon, bladder and breast cancer tumors that were transplanted into mice.

The treatment was not tested against mesothelioma tumors, but early indications are that it could work against virtually all cancers.

Cancerous tumors in humans often behave differently than in mice, but the results have been so promising that the Stanford group has been awarded a $20 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to begin launching human safety tests.

“We have enough data already that I can say I’m confident that this will move to phase I human trials,” Irving Weissman, M.D., told Science Now.

The treatment involves blocking a protein called CD47, which normally stops a body’s immune system from attacking the cancerous tumor. By negating the effectiveness of CD47, which is on the surface of the cells, the body’s own immune system will seek out and destroy the cancerous cells.

Weissman has worked with CD47 for a decade, discovering that an antibody was effective against leukemia and other blood cancers. For the first time, though, scientists are discovering its effectiveness against other cancers.

Human bladder cancer tumors, transplanted into mice, were stopped from spreading 90 percent of the time after an anti-CD47 treatment. Colon cancer tumors transplanted into mice shrank to less than one-third their size, on average. Breast cancer tumors in five mice disappeared after the treatment, and the mice remained cancer free four months later.

“If the tumor was highly aggressive, the antibody also blocked metastasis. It’s becoming very clear that, in order for a cancer to survive in the body, it has to find a way to evade the cells of the human immune system,” Weissman said in a statement.

To first determine whether blocking CD47 would work, scientists at Stanford  exposed tumor cells to a type of immune cell, in petri dishes. Without the antibody, the immune cells ignored the cancer cells. Once the antibody was used, the immune cells destroyed the cancer cells.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is caused by the inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibers , which often lodge in the thin lining surrounding the lungs and other organs.  There is no known cure and prognosis is typically poor because the diagnosis normally comes after the disease has spread.

Advances in any cancer treatment often are watched closely by those studying mesothelioma.

Medically Reviewed by Top Mesothelioma Doctors
Free Mesothelioma Guide