Dr. Haining Yang at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center is leading the research. Yang and her team showed how the High-Mobility Group Box 1 (HMGB1) protein sparks the proliferation and survival of cancerous mesothelioma cells.
Yang and colleagues recently discovered that isoforms or “protein variants” of HMGB1 could be a key to early detection of the asbestos-related cancer. Typically, asbestos fibers cause cell death in human mesothelial cells. These cells comprise the mesothelium membranes that line the pleura, pericardium and peritoneum.
Previous research from Yang’s team shows crocidolite, the most carcinogenic type of asbestos, caused a high percentage of cell death in cell cultures. “We know asbestos causes cancer, especially mesothelioma,” Yang said. “The question was how can these fibers cause cancer if they cause cell death?”
“Although we’re focusing on it as a biomarker at this moment, the [Department of Defense] Translational Team Science Award that my colleagues and I won recently will support our studies on the mechanisms,” Yang said. “We hope to find out how HMGB1 and its isoforms promote the development of mesothelioma.”
This article is interesting and gives hope to all patients diagnosed with Mesothelioma with the hope that a cure can be found one day.
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