If you were exposed to asbestos at any time in your life, you are at risk for developing mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that is difficult to treat. One of the reasons mesothelioma is difficult to treat is because it is usually not detected until it has reached a more advanced stage. Now, advances in mesothelioma research are improving prospects for people at risk for developing mesothelioma.
Measuring the likelihood of developing mesothelioma
Up until now, there has been no way to determine who is likely to develop mesothelioma and who will not. Now, researchers at the University of Hawaii, studying the HMGB1 protein believe they may have found a way.
Researchers found that people with mesothelioma have a higher level of a variant form of HMGB1 in their blood. HMGB1 is a blood protein that is produced when cells die. The variant form of HMGB1 that is produced by mesothelioma cells aids in the rapid spread of pleural mesothelioma.
Researchers found that people identified as being at risk for mesothelioma have higher levels of the HMGB1 protein in their blood. Researchers now believe that by monitoring the blood of this at risk group for changes in the protein to its variant form will help them detect mesothelioma much earlier, when people are more likely to benefit from treatment.
What early detection could mean for people exposed to asbestos
Early detection could be the key to improving the survival rates for people exposed to asbestos. It may also give them the time they need identify the source of their asbestos-exposure and pursue recovery against any responsible parties.