The human body tries to destroy damaged and unhealthy cells by a process called “apoptosis.” This natural process instructs the bad cells to die. Unfortunately, cancer cells have found ways to circumvent this leading to the cells living and multiplying. There are already drugs that combat this apoptosis in some cancers, but until now, these drugs have not worked to allow the body to kill malignant mesothelioma cells.
Mesothelioma is a cancer almost always caused by asbestos exposure. It is a deadly cancer. Much research is focused on finding ways to combat the current grim prognosis for victims. One new promising approach is via the drug HRX9, a drug that keeps cancer cells from avoiding apoptosis.
The BMC Cancer journal published results of a study by the universities of Bradford and Surrey which discovered that human mesothlioma tumors in mice stopped growing after three weeks of treatment with HRX9. In that short time, there was extensive cancer cell death and a total loss of tumor blood vessels. This is hopeful news for current and future victims of mesothelioma.
Ian Jarrold, Head of Research at British Lung Foundation said: “Although still early days, this study is a significant step forward in that it is the first time a drug has been observed causing so-called ‘cell suicide’ in mesothelioma. People living with mesothelioma often tell us that among their first reactions to diagnosis is despair at the lack of treatment available. We hope that the progress being made in research we fund will soon provide new treatments and new hope for patients.”