A recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer center is breaking new ground in the scientific understanding of mesothelioma. According to the researchers, mesothelioma may be caused by multiple cell mutations rather than a mutation in a single cell – which is the case in most cancers.
The study, published earlier this month in the Journal of Translational Medicine ( JTM), began when researchers attempted to determine if mesothelioma was monoclonal, meaning that it is derived from a single cell mutation which replicates and causes cancer to grow. This is the case with many types of cancers.
Researchers analyzed patterns of “clonality” by comparing samples from individuals with mesothelioma to samples from healthy individuals and others with monoclonal cancers. Ultimately, their findings suggested that “malignant mesothelioma is the result of polyclonal tumors,” or mutations in multiple distinct cells.
The University of Hawaii study is a significant step toward improving our understanding of this tragic disease, and may lead to improvements in the ways we treat mesothelioma patients. For example, researchers are using the study findings to suggest that treatments should be targeting multiple cancerous cells with different types of mutations, rather than a single monoclonal cell. In the past, mesothelioma patients have been treated with the same monoclonal antibodies common with cancer treatments.
You can learn more about mesothelioma on our website or by contacting the Nemeroff Law Firm.
Swedish researchers from Umea University’s Department of Health and Clinical Medicine recently concluded a study in which they suggest that a wide variety of construction workers face significant risks of suffering from mesothelioma – even if they didn’t work jobs known for higher rates of asbestos exposure.
According to the study, which was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, workers in the construction industry – especially those who perform jobs involving asbestos-containing products – have exhibited significant rates of mesothelioma.
Examples of the types of construction jobs with high rates of mesothelioma cases include:
Researchers noted that while some of these occupations have long been associated with higher numbers of mesothelioma, asbestos exposure occurred across many different types of construction industry occupational groups. Their opinion was that protection against asbestos exposure may be an extremely difficult or nearly impossible task in construction.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes guidelines for protecting U.S. workers against exposure – including risk education, asbestos handling training, and proper protective gear – the Swedish study suggests that these regulations may not go far enough. You can read more about the study here.
If you have questions about mesothelioma resulting from exposure to asbestos in the workplace, the Nemeroff Law Firm is here to help. We’ve recovered millions on behalf of asbestos victims and their families.
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Mesothelioma is a difficult disease to track on a global level. This is because it can be elusive to some medical professionals with less-advanced resources and because there is often a lack of data, among other reasons. Although the true risks of asbestos exposure may be difficult to precisely pinpoint, Italian researchers are suggesting there is strong evidence that mesothelioma rates are increasing in many different countries.
The study – published in the Indian Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine – was conducted by researchers from the Center for the Study of Environmental Cancer in Italy. It is centered on data of mesothelioma rates in Europe, Oceania, and parts of Asia, the Middle East, and South America.
According to researchers, the following countries reported the highest rates of mesothelioma (based on available data):
All of these countries, except New Zealand, have prohibited the use of asbestos. Other countries that have banned asbestos, including the U.S. and several European nations, have seen intermediate mesothelioma rates. Researchers noted that a lack of data from larger countries that have not banned asbestos – Russia, China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil – makes precise findings about incidence rates on a global level difficult.
Ultimately, the researchers suggest that global asbestos consumption rates in the past decades may predict that mesothelioma rates will be on the rise and will impact larger geographical areas. They also factor in mesothelioma’s long latency period – 15 – 60 years – in suggesting the rise in mesothelioma rates.
According to a report published in a Danish medical journal, certain home repairs can pose mesothelioma risks. The study – completed by researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Slagelse, Denmark – based the study of published cases involving patients diagnosed with mesothelioma.
According to the study, both patients were found to have been exposed to asbestos while doing roof repairs. Each of the patients, who were homeowners, reported drilling and cutting into roof sheeting. Because the homes were manufactured prior to the 1980s, before the asbestos-containing materials were largely abandoned in construction, the roof sheeting contained asbestos. Neither of the patients had worked professions that posed risks of asbestos exposure.
The study highlights the risks of non-occupational asbestos exposure, especially for homeowners who perform do-it-yourself repairs or renovations in older homes. During these projects, homeowners can expose themselves to dust and harmful asbestos fibers when they cut, sand, drill, or disturb structures and products containing the material.
Researchers noted that the risks are more concerning for older individuals who performed home repairs in homes built before the 1980s. Current homeowners in older homes – especially those built during the 1930s to the 1960s – can also be exposed to asbestos. The most common home materials that may contain asbestos include:
Floor and ceiling tiles
Wall paints and joint compounds
Asbestos was widely used in home construction, as it was valued for its durability, low cost, and resistance to fire. Once the link between asbestos and mesothelioma became widely accepted, the construction industry abandoned the use of asbestos. Because the risk may still exist in older homes, experts recommend that homeowners who suspect that their homes may contain asbestos contact an abatement professional before doing any work themselves.
Nemeroff Law Firm fights for victims of asbestos exposure, no matter where the exposure occurred. If you have questions about non-occupational exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma, and your rights, contact our firm for a free case evaluation.
Today, asbestos is known largely as an outdated and dangerous substance. For most people, asbestos was the material used for insulation in homes, roofs on old buildings, and in a number of other industrial ways. Although asbestos fibers are certainly the harmful material we’ve all come to know, they are also naturally occurring minerals which, according to some geologists and experts, can be quite dangerous in their natural form.
Asbestos minerals exist in deposits across the United States, with the highest concentrations in the Western part of the country. Geologists and other scientists are concerned that naturally occurring asbestos deposits can pose a risk to nearby residents. In places like Libby, Montana, for example, which is home to a former asbestos-contaminated vermiculite mine, one out of five of the residents were diagnosed with asbestos-related lung disease.
In Nevada, geologists are questioning whether asbestos deposits in the state – which are unmined – could be harming local residents. However, scientists have received some opposition from the state’s health department, which restricted access to the state cancer registry after an epidemiologist conducted a preliminary analysis and found an unusual number of mesothelioma cases. The health department also reported the results of their own analysis, finding that the asbestos deposits posed no danger.
Ultimately, we know that asbestos fibers are dangerous and the cause of many tragic diseases, including mesothelioma. With the help of scientific studies and statistics, we also know that naturally occurring asbestos is more common than most may think – and that there appears to be a correlation between deposits and rates of mesothelioma. Given the risks involved, experts and government agencies should be working together to find answers, not be gridlocked in debate.