Geologists are taking the study of asbestos-related mesothelioma in new and different directions by working to understand the connections between living organisms and earth materials. Two doctoral students in The Ohio State University’s lab conducted a study to determine what molecular mechanisms were driving the development of mesothelioma.
According to Live Science, the study focused on the most deadly of the asbestos fibers, crocidolite or blue asbestos. Crocidolite is a long and thin fiber that becomes lodged in the mesothelial cells of the lungs. While some other asbestos fibers such as chrysotile can dissolve and be flushed out, crocidolite does not ever dissolve and remains in the lungs for many years.
Research into this particular fiber could help shed light on exactly how and why the fiber lodged in the lungs leads to the development of mesothelioma. This could prove invaluable in finding solutions to help prevent patients from developing or dying from this deadly form of cancer.
Individuals who are affected by mesothelioma generally have a low survival rate due to the limited effectiveness of treatment methods. A Boston mesothelioma lawyer can represent mesothelioma victims and their family members in obtaining compensation for the losses they endure because of this cancer.
Understanding How Asbestos Leads to Mesothelioma
The scientists conducted a series of tests to determine whether crocidolite binds to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR is a protein receptor that is found in the cell surface of the lungs and that initiates the process of cell division. The research revealed that the crocidolite continually binds and then unbinds with EGFR over and over. Each time it binds with the EGFR, it triggers a potent response that causes the cells to proliferate.
This repeated division of cells may be what causes the cancer to develop. If so, it may be possible to create a small molecule that could coat the crocidolite fibers and that would thus prevent these fibers from binding to EGFR. The repeated proliferation of cells could thus be stopped and the development or progression of cancer slowed or halted.
This new research provides a promising course of action to pursue in looking for new solutions to deal with the asbestos problem. Unfortunately, the development of a molecule that can coat the fibers is likely to be several years away.
However, chemists at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil have already begun working towards finding a solution. The scientists are developing supercomputer simulators that will model the binding action of the crocidolite fibers with the EGFR. Once it becomes more clear exactly how the asbestos fibers become attached to the growth factor receptors, this should make it easier for a molecule to be created that can “wedge” its way in between the two substances and prevent the binding from occurring.
Asbestos victims should contact Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Military Veterans at High Risk for Mesothelioma, Dec. 8, 2012, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog