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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
January 29, 2019

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Treat mesothelioma: Medical trial opens to treat asbestos-related cancer

The world’s first-ever trial into delivering personalised treatment for mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, has opened today (29 January).

asbestos, serpentine fibersThe Mesothelioma Stratified Therapy (MiST) trial aims to assign targeted treatments tailored specifically to an individual’s mesothelioma and will be run from the HOPE Clinical Trials Facility at Leicester Hospital.

It has been funded by the British Lung Foundation, thanks to a donation from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation.

Mesothelioma develops in tissue that lines the space between the lungs and the chest wall and forms after several years following the inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibres.

It can take several decades to develop, depending on the parts of the body affected and the extent of exposure to asbestos, with some patients only experiencing symptoms when the disease reaches an advanced stage.

According to the Office for National Statistics only 6% of men and 10% of women with mesothelioma live for longer than five years after diagnosis.

“The sad reality is that we have very limited effective treatment options on the NHS for mesothelioma. There is a desperate need for more effective therapy. As a result, few patients live for a long time after diagnosis,” said Professor Dean Fennell, Chair of the Mesothelioma Research Programme at the University of Leicester, consultant oncologist at Leicester’s Hospitals and scientific lead for the MiST trial.

“By matching new drugs to the individual’s type of mesothelioma, for the first time, we have an unparalleled opportunity to rationally choose drugs most likely to control a patient’s mesothelioma.

“We hope that MiST will accelerate advances in extending survival and quality of life for patients with this aggressive cancer.”

The British Lung Foundation’s Head of Research, Ian Jarrold, added: “Finding new treatments for mesothelioma will be a huge challenge. However, with advanced techniques which enable us to understand the human genome in minute detail, we can make big strides in our understanding of how this terrible disease works. We hope that this trial will make significant progress towards the day where nobody is left breathless by mesothelioma.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the study, contact the MiST team.

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