Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are looking to figure out if there is a connection between the measles virus and mesothelioma in order to possibly find a cure.

Our mesothelioma lawyers have reported time and time again on our Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog that researchers are picking up the pace in terms of looking at mesothelioma. While this is a rare form of cancer, it is one that is devastating because it has no cure.

Mesothelioma is a cancer caused primarily by exposure to asbestos. It is unique in that a person can be exposed to this natural mineral and not feel any symptoms of the cancer for 20 to 50 years later. Typically, this cancer isn’t discovered until it is in its most advanced stages.

Symptoms include heavy coughing, fluid built-up in the lungs, chest pain and other signs that could point to a variety of ailments. That is another reason why this cancer is so dangerous — it can be masked as something less serious.

But researchers are hopeful that recent work may be able to put a dent into the number of people who die from this form of cancer. Typically, people with mesothelioma are treated with chemotherapy because surgery often isn’t a sound option. This is because the cancer tends to form near major organs, such as the heart, lungs and abdomen.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are reporting there has been an increase of mesothelioma cases in Minnesota, so the clinic there is doing extensive research to find a cure. This is attributed to taconite mining in the Iron Range region, which is a large economic booster, but has shown to have some unknown medical risks.

The latest version of the measles virus vector is an engineered version of the measles virus that is safe to the patient, but carries a toxic payload and is targetable. Doctors are able to conduct imaging studies to follow the virus in a treated patient. And they believe that they may be able to administer a more toxic version into a mesothelioma patient to destroy the cancerous tumor.

Researchers have found that mice with mesothelioma were given treatment that doubled the life span compared to mice that didn’t receive any treatment. The potential treatment was found by lab workers testing drugs approved to treat other forms of cancer.

When applied to mesothelioma cells, it seemed to make a difference. But researchers warn that this isn’t a cure for mesothelioma. Still, they hope that the treatment could improve for these patients.

One researcher said the hope is that within four years, after proper testing and trials, that treatment can be offered in the form of a pill that could outperform chemotherapy. That would allow patients to have a less turbulent time getting help for this cancer. They also predict that this treatment would increase the patient’s lifespan by about six months.

Frequently Asked Questions: Mesothelioma & Asbestos

  • What is asbestos?
  • Why is asbestos dangerous?
  • What are asbestos-related diseases?
  • What causes mesothelioma?
  • What are the different types of mesothelioma?
  • What are common mesothelioma symptoms?
  • Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
  • What is the life expectancy for someone with mesothelioma?
  • Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?

The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services, including mesothelioma legal help. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

More Blog Entries:

New Medicine Imaging Tactic Could Improve Diagnosis of Mesothelioma After Asbestos Exposure: December 5, 2011