One of the main difficulties in treating malignant mesothelioma is its tendency to exhibit symptoms when the disease has progressed too far for effective treatment. Researchers worked to detect biomarkers by analyzing blood samples from patients who have been exposed to asbestos, but there is still much work to be done. MicroRNAs are tiny molecules in the body that contain genetic information, and scientists have studied these to identify signs of developing mesothelioma. However, a study at the Ruhr University Bochum in Germany seems to contradict this.
For this study, plasma was taken from 17 German workers who agreed to participate, and all these samples were taken before they had received mesothelioma diagnoses. The samples did not contain biomarkers, which would have been indicative of the risk. The scientists used three types of microRNAs for the study, but the samples ended up not being as effective as early detection tools. It was determined that the microRNAs were not able to identify malignant mesothelioma in prediagnostic samples.
A US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health study published in 2017 set out to identify a pattern for microRNAs to detect biomarkers in patients with pleural mesothelioma and asbestosis. It also aimed to see if the microRNAs could function as biomarkers. It concluded that the patients experienced decreased microRNAs levels, and that circulating microRNAs could be a possible tool to aid in patient prognosis. This report also mentioned that many other studies have shown that microRNAs function to regulate the progression of other diseases that affect human organs.
RNA stands for ribonucleic acid, and microRNAs take part in many biological and physiological processes, such as cell cycling, aging, viral replication, cardiac development, and skeletal/muscle functions. They have been associated with heart and neurological diseases, plus many types of cancer. Therefore, they have been often studied for prognostic and diagnostic reasons. Since microRNAs were discovered in 2001, there have been over 14,000 annotated, although their purposes are still not clear.
Mesothelioma is caused by long-term asbestos exposure. Normally, tumors form on the lining of the lungs, and mesothelioma has a very poor prognosis, with an average survival time of nine to 10 months. The symptoms are usually silent, which is the main reason why it is diagnosed later in life. This makes therapeutic intervention very challenging; it is also very resistant to chemotherapy.
The study recommended a larger scale clinical study to see if microRNAs could be used in therapeutic settings for patients. They termed it as a promising field for study to help mesothelioma and other cancers.
If you or someone you care for was diagnosed with mesothelioma, do not hesitate to contact the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. We will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 215-569-4000 or complete an online form for a free case evaluation. Located in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.