Press Release: April 9, 2015

GRAPHENE – New Research That May Help Mesothelioma Victims

Graphene strips as "flying carpets"

An international team of researchers has developed a drug delivery technique that utilizes Graphene strips as “flying carpets” to deliver two anticancer drugs sequentially to cancer cells, with each drug targeting the distinct part of the cell where it will be most effective. The technique was found to perform better than either drug in isolation when tested in a mouse model targeting a human lung cancer tumor.

GRAPHENE has successfully proved itself in the lab against six kinds of cancer cells. Flaked Graphene oxide preferentially hits these cancers right in the stem cells. These are the guys that not only are often responsible for starting the tumor, but they also tend to stick around after the radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery to reseed a tumor just when it looks like it was defeated.

Jerry Neil Paul, a Founding Board Member of the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America, has an objective to bring encouragement to cancer patients who are victims of mesothelioma. This recent cancer cure research from North Carolina State University , and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as the China Pharmaceutical University have also found a protein, TRAIL, that is anti-cancerous. This protein can be used to serve as an active targeting molecule that binds directly to a cancer cell.

Current research studies using Graphene strips show that anti-cancer drugs can be attached to the Graphene for focused delivery to the cancer cell. Graphene is particularly useful for this because it is a two-dimensional sheet of carbon only one atom in thickness. While the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America has developed Veglin and EphB4, and others have developed TRAIL and Doxorubiein (Dox), non-chemotherapy drug treatments, all the treatments could be conducive to a Graphene strip delivery method. The Graphene delivery method is useful when the oncologist wants an effective sequential application of two drugs that work together, where each drug kills the cancer cell where it will be most effective. Some drug treat ments attach to the external membrane of the cancer cell to kill it, while other drug treatments effectively kill the cancer cell when delivered to the cell nucleus.

The Graphene strip works when a cancer drug treatment can be physically integrated and bound to it because of similar molecular structures of Graphene and the drug. So, various drug treatments can be attached to the surface of the Graphene by a combination of amino acids known as peptides.

Dr. Parkish Gill, on behalf of the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America will determine if there is a way to apply and proceed with his non-chemotherapy treatments using the Graphene strip technique.

The paper, “Furin-Mediated Sequential Delivery of Anticancer Cytokine and Small-Molecule Drug Shuttled by Graphene,” was published in early view online Dec. 15 in Advanced Materials. Lead author of the paper is Dr. Tianyue Jiang, a former graduate student lab-researcher on the study who is now on faculty at Nanjing Tech University . The co-corresponding author is Dr. Ran Mo, who is also a former postdoctoral lab-researcher on this project who is now on faculty at CPU. Co-authors include Wujin Sun, a Ph.D. student in the lab of this project; Qiuwen Zhu, a Ph.D. student at CPU; Nancy Burns, a Ph.D. student at NC State; and Dr. Saad Khan, Alcoa Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State.

Press Release: May 28, 2010

Biomarker Calretinin May Help Early Detection of Mesothelioma

Recently mesothelioma researchers have analyzed a biomarker called calretinin as a diagnostic tool in human blood or serum with what appear to be promising results. Early detection of mesothelioma - which historically has been hard to diagnose because of its ill-defined symptoms and long lead time for the cancer to develop - would be an important step in fighting mesothelioma.

Calretinin is already a well-established (immunohistochemical) marker in diagnosing malignant mesothelioma. But its usefulness as a diagnostic tool in human blood has been studied very little. The aim of the study was to develop an assay for calretinin in blood and to test its usefulness as a minimally invasive diagnostic marker for mesothelioma.

Researchers studied samples of 97 healthy volunteers, 35 asbestos-exposed workers, and 42 malignant mesothelioma patients. Results showed median calretinin values in healthy volunteers, asbestos workers, and mesothelioma patients were 0.20, 0.33, and 0.84 ng/ml, respectively. Median means half the subjects had levels higher than the specified amount and half had lower levels. Measured units were in nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).

The median values for patients with epithelioid and biphasic mesothelioma were similar. Age, gender, smoking status, or type of medium (plasma/serum) on calretinin values did not influence the results.

Calretinin in human serum and plasma might be a useful marker alone or combined with other markers such as mesothelin. Because the results are based on a small number of test subjects and further testing needs to be done, no commercial test is currently available.

The medical journal article on the study was published in BMC Cancer on 28 May, 2010. The study was carried out at the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine, in Bochum, Germany.

New Approaches To Treating Malignant Mesothelioma

Successfully treating a serious disease such as malignant mesothelioma depends on how early a diagnosis can be made. One reason why malignant mesothelioma is such a dangerous disease is that its symptoms often do not present themselves until the cancer is advanced. Traditional methods of treating malignant mesothelioma revolve around surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Unfortunately, the traditional methods have shown limited success for slowing or stopping the aggressive nature of mesothelioma. No treatment, to date, has been able to increase the life expectancy of patients more than a few months. New research, including research funded by the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America, is focusing on the development of new treatment modalities.

New approaches to treating malignant mesothelioma include:

  • New chemotherapy agents
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Immunotherapy
  • Gene therapy

Summing Up New Treatments

It is incredibly important to continue working towards newer and more effective ways to treat malignant mesothelioma in addition to all cancers. The regulation of asbestos in the United States has helped to limit future cases of mesothelioma in America; however, a number of countries around the world continue to mine asbestos, putting future generations at risk of developing malignant mesothelioma. By continuing to work towards newer and more effective treatments, science can potentially lengthen the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

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