From the blog

Researchers Looked at Fibroblasts to Determine Their Role in Mesothelioma Growth

Published: April 5, 2024

Malignant mesothelioma is a hard cancer to treat and is mainly caused by asbestos. It was widely used in construction, steel mills, and other industries. Mesothelioma is especially hard to treat because it grows and spreads quickly. There are unfortunately not many options for the treatment of mesothelioma. It takes a long time for the cancer to develop, around 20 or more years. Classifying the cancer is hard and treatments remain ineffective for mesothelioma patients. There now needs to be new and better ways to diagnose, predict outcomes, and treat patients struggling with mesothelioma.

There is current research looking at the area right outside tumors called the tumor microenvironment. Researchers want to understand how the area affects cancer growth. Researchers are looking at fibroblasts, which are types of cells that provide support to tissues. They can either stop cancer growth or help cancer spread, depending on the situation. One type of fibroblasts are Cancer-associated fibroblasts, which help promote tumor growth. Since there are all different types of fibroblasts that can promote cancer growth, it is necessary to understand how they work to find better ways to treat cancer.

A study recently published in Cell & Bioscience looked at fibroblasts in mesothelioma to see if they could find how cancer behaves due to fibroblasts. There were three databases studied where six different fibroblasts were found. They found that the different types could all be found in different stages of mesothelioma development. The researchers studied the genes in the fibroblasts and found a new way to classify mesothelioma as well as found a way to predict how severe mesothelioma could be in a patient. The study showed that when we look at genes in fibroblasts, doctors can predict how severe the cancer will be. This could help doctors find the best available treatments tailored for each individual patient.

The study did not just look at how mesothelioma will progress. It also looked at genes that could potentially be used to target cells to treat cancer. This could potentially lead to new mesothelioma treatments, which are currently very uncommon and sparse. This study proves that fibroblasts play an important role in the development and treatment of mesothelioma and could lead to better ways to diagnose, treat, and predict the cancer. More research is needed to fully understand the findings of the study, but they at least offer hope for better outcomes for mesothelioma patients in the future.

 Jun Liu et al., “A gene signature linked to fibroblast differentiation for prognostic prediction of mesothelioma” Cell and Bioscience (March 10, 2024). [Link]
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