During the International Symposium at Alexandria (VA), the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) has announced to fund a project on research on new drugs in mesothelioma by Dr. Giovannetti.
Mesothelioma is a highly aggressive form of cancer, caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Asbestos was banned in 1993 but million tons of asbestos containing material still remains incorporated within the houses infrastructure and mesothelioma incidence is still increasing. There is no satisfactory treatment, and most patients die within 2 years.
Our research group will investigate how mesothelioma cancer cells obtain “fuel” to grow and resist to most current treatments.
Mesothelioma cells can survive in low oxygen conditions because they have evolved to beat these conditions (i.e. hypoxia) by switching on a different metabolism, leaded by a protein called lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Tumor hypoxia appears to be strongly associated with tumor propagation and resistance to chemotherapy. Therefore, our team will investigate if targeting LDH or modulating the metabolism of mesothelioma cells could improve current treatments.
This project is granted the $100,000 “Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos” grant, for a period of two years. We will update the Foundation to review and monitor the study’s progress and results. The Meso Foundation is indeed funding peer-reviewed mesothelioma research, modeled after the National Cancer Institute. The Meso Foundation’s ability to award such grants for mesothelioma research results from the generosity of private donors, who give to the Foundation in order to make a direct impact on the tragedy of the disease. Since its founding in 1999, the Meso Foundation has funded over $8.7 million in research, funding to both American and European research groups.
Our team, in collaboration with other Italian, Dutch and European hospitals also studies tumor specimens that are removed from patients to learn as much about their biology as possible. This includes genetic analyses and studies of tumor metabolism. Our goal is to correlate these biologic factors with patient outcome. Additionally, we are conducting multiple pre-clinical studies of combinations of novel drugs that appear to be significantly more active at shrinking mesothelioma than standard treatments.