A Mesothelioma Research Breakthrough

Scientists Discover Possible Mechanism by Which Asbestos Causes Cancer

After an exhaustive study, researchers working jointly on behalf of the National Cancer Institute and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation may have discovered how asbestos fibers entering the body lead to the often-fatal mesothelioma.

They confirmed the presence of a molecule known as high-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) that apparently kicks off tumor growth by activating an inflammatory reaction in the body's immune system. The study revealed that interfering with the creation and operation of this protein string could possibly slow the growth of existing cancerous tumors and potentially prevent the development of new ones.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an invasive and unique form of cancer almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring chemical that was, prior to the federal government banning it in 1980, used in a wide range of commercial products (everything from insulation and adhesives to cigarette filters and fireproofing materials). Because of its many applications, countless people were exposed to asbestos fibers during its period of heaviest use - from the 1940s until the 1980s.

Despite the link between health problems and asbestos discovered many years ago, hazards were not known to the general public until the mid 1970s. By that time, it was too late for many - mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers typically do not manifest and cause symptoms until 20 and 50 years after the period of initial exposure, though sooner for individuals constantly exposed to asbestos-laden products.

What if you Have Mesothelioma?

In spite of this revolutionary breakthrough into the mechanism of asbestos-related cancers like mesothelioma, the disease continues to affect countless Americans who formerly worked in shipyards, plumbing, construction, railroad yards and as firefighters (among other occupations). If you or a loved one suffers from this painful disease, you should seek the counsel of an experienced asbestos personal injury attorney to help.