Mesothelioma Clinical Trial to Take Place in North Carolina

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Wake Forest, NC – FirstWatch of the Carolinas, as well as researchers from Wake Forest Medical School in North Carolina, are partnering for a breakthrough research study which aims to discover more about the development and effects of the deadly asbestos cancer mesothelioma. According to a news release issued by FirstWatch, the study “examines the associated environmental factors and genetic markers of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, basically identifying how frequently encountered environmental pollutants affect the body and determining the genetic factors that make some families more susceptible than others to mesothelioma and other forms of cancer.” Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer, develops over a long period of time, and is sparked by exposure to asbestos. Used heavily as a building material until the 1980s, asbestos was hailed as a miracle mineral. When added to materials such as insulation, cement, plaster, and fabrics, it made them strong and durable, as well as heat, flame and chemical resistant. What was unknown at the time, though, was that asbestos fibers were very harmful to the human body. When asbestos fibers are inhaled through the nose or mouth, they become trapped inside the lungs, and within the mesothelium, a tissue lining the heart, lungs, and abdomen. These fibers, which build up after each exposure, create breathing problems for victims, cause fluid buildup within the lungs and mesothelium, and can eventually lead to mesothelioma. The cancer has a latency period lasting decades, and those who have developed the cancer often are not aware anything is wrong, until it is almost too late. The Wake Forest clinical trial into the genetic reasoning behind mesothelioma aims to be a major breakthrough into the understanding and progression of this cancer, which is quickly claiming more victims than ever before. “Over years of research, we have determined that there is a strong tendency for mesothelioma to run in families and it tends to be associated with a family history of cancer, which suggests a genetic susceptibility,” said Dr. Jill Ohar, the study's lead investigator. The non-invasive study is actively seeking patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in the North Carolina area.

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