Mesothelioma UK awards £37,000 for new study into pain reduction for asbestos-related cancer

Mesothelioma UK, the national asbestos-related cancer charity, has awarded £37,191.51 through its research grant scheme to a year-long study that will investigate why radiotherapy treatment reduces pain for some patients with the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, and not others.

The research, titled ‘Tipping the balance: pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins as determinant of radiation resistance in mesothelioma’, will be carried out by Professor Anthony Chalmers at the University of Glasgow. The funding has been provided by HASAG Asbestos Disease Support, a charity dedicated to supporting those affected by asbestos-related diseases.

The study will use tumour samples collected from patients recruited to the SYSTEMS-2 clinical trial, that looked at the impact of a higher dose of radiotherapy on pain relief and other clinical outcomes including overall survival. Early results from the trial suggest that some patients benefit from radiotherapy while others do not. The new study will aim to identify molecular biomarkers that can identify which mesothelioma patients will benefit from radiotherapy and which will not.

Mesothelioma is a cancer related to exposure to asbestos and predominantly affects the lining of the lungs. The UK has the highest incidence of the disease in the world with around 2,700 people diagnosed each year.

Professor Anthony Chalmers, Chair of Clinical Oncology at the University of Glasgow and Chief Investigator for the study, said: “Mesothelioma is an extremely difficult cancer to treat, and we are very encouraged by the early results from SYSTEMS-2 which suggest that some patients might benefit from higher doses of radiotherapy than have previously been used. This new funding from Mesothelioma UK will enable us to use sophisticated molecular and imaging technologies to find out why some patients benefit but others do not. In the future, we plan to use this information to choose the most effective treatment for each individual patient.”

Lynne Squibb, Co-Founder of HASAG added: “HASAG is delighted to be involved in funding this study. Our trustees are keen for the charity to use its funds to support mesothelioma research. We are always happy to partner with Mesothelioma UK to fund research or nursing posts as we know that our partnership can benefit patients now and in the future. We couldn’t offer this funding without the generosity of our amazing supporters to whom we are extremely grateful.”

Liz Darlison, Chief Executive of Mesothelioma UK added: “The results from the SYSTEMS-2 trial were very exciting for the mesothelioma community so we’re excited to find out how this further research can help to improve patients’ quality of life. We’re grateful to HASAG for providing the funding and await the results of the study with great anticipation.”

HASAG was founded in 2006 by Diane Salisbury and Lynne Squibb in memory of their father who suffered from mesothelioma, to raise awareness and offer support to others.

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