Georgia Cancer Study Could Reshape Treatment Options for Mesothelioma

Treatment & Doctors
Reading Time: 3 mins
Publication Date: 06/14/2012
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. (2020, October 16). Georgia Cancer Study Could Reshape Treatment Options for Mesothelioma. Asbestos.com. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/06/14/georgia-cancer-study-mesothelioma-treatment/

MLA

Povtak, Tim. "Georgia Cancer Study Could Reshape Treatment Options for Mesothelioma." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/06/14/georgia-cancer-study-mesothelioma-treatment/.

Chicago

Povtak, Tim. "Georgia Cancer Study Could Reshape Treatment Options for Mesothelioma." Asbestos.com. Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/06/14/georgia-cancer-study-mesothelioma-treatment/.

Treatment for cancerous tumors could change significantly if recent groundbreaking research done at the University of Georgia becomes accepted.

Low oxygen level in cells — and not the widely accepted theory of genetic mutation — is what spurs the growth of cancerous tumors, according to the most recent research.

Ying Xu, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and professor of bioinformatics and computational biology, believes that cancer treatment should focus more on the long-term lack of oxygen in cells and less on genetic biomarkers.

“Cancer drugs try to get to the root — at the molecular level — of a particular mutation, but the cancer often bypasses it,” Xu said. “So we think that possibly genetic mutations may not be the main driver of cancer.”

Xu’s theory, he admits, runs counter to some widely accepted beliefs among the cancer research community. Previous studies have uncovered low oxygen levels as a contributing factor with cancer growth, but never as the driving force behind it.

Xu’s research team analyzed samples in seven different cancer types from the Stanford Microarray Database, using a software program to detect abnormal gene expression. It looked at liver, kidney, lung, breast, ovary, stomach and pancreatic cancers. Although mesothelioma cancer was not included in the study, many of the same theories apply.

‘A Key Driver of Cancer’

Mesothelioma experts often cite genetic predisposition in explaining why some people are more susceptible to the ravages of asbestos, the primary cause of the cancer. About 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed annually with the disease.

Xu’s findings were based on bioinformatics analysis, which combines computational science with biology, and allows researchers to view cancer from a slightly different perspective. The study was published in the online edition of the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology.

Researchers used the gene HIF1A as the biomarker to measure the amount of molecular oxygen in a cell. All seven cancers indicated  decreased oxygen levels in cells. The lower levels interrupted the way cells normally convert food into energy. It causes cancer cells to work harder to grow and reproduce faster than normal cells.

“This could be a key driver of cancer,” said Xu.

Current cancer research often focuses on counteracting genetic mutations with designer drug treatments. Xu said that this new cancer-growth model can explain why many cancers become drug resistant so quickly.

He said researchers in the future should focus more on methods to prevent the low oxygen levels. It could cause a significant shift in cancer research.

Also involved in the study were Juan Cui, Xizeng Mao, and Victor Olman, all from the University of Georgia. Phil Hastings of Baylor College of Medicine  participated in the research.

open book icon vector illustration
Medically Reviewed by Top Mesothelioma Doctors
Free Mesothelioma Guide