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10 October 2017

How our new mesothelioma research network will drive progress

We’ve launched our new mesothelioma research network to bring scientists together.

Research two people working together

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that begins to grow between the lining of the lungs and the inside of the chest. Although there have been advances in the treatment of mesothelioma, it's still usually regarded as a terminal condition.

Sadly, only around 8 out of every 100 people diagnosed with mesothelioma will survive for 5 years or more. Usually people develop the condition due to exposure to asbestos in their working life or exposure via family members who worked in places where asbestos was used. The standard treatment, chemotherapy, only adds months to lives. But some ways to treat the condition being tested in clinical trials are showing promise.

Why is research so important?

Compared with other cancers that affect the same number of people, the money invested in mesothelioma research is tiny. Since 2008, we’re proud to have awarded £6.3 million in grants for mesothelioma research. But we need to do more. And it needs to be done right now to give people with mesothelioma hope for the future.

We need more options for different treatments and a chance for people to live well for the time they have with their loved ones. That’s why research and clinical trials are critical!

Why a research network?

We know that we can speed progress in research up by bringing people working on the same thing together. There are many great examples of research networks across the globe making a real difference. So why does sharing knowledge and research plans help things get done better and faster?

It may be there is a laboratory technique that one researcher has struggled with for months and yet another researcher has mastered this technique and can give guidance – saving time and money. By knowing what other researchers in the UK and globally are doing, we can help avoid having 2 people doing the same kinds of experiments at the same time.

The aim of getting researchers to work together mean that the quality of the research is better. Different people bring a different skills to a project. This way, we might be able to make results from the research project available sooner.

We could only set up this network thanks to a generous donation from The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation. We kicked the project off yesterday. It’s an exciting time for mesothelioma research. We hope the network will help drive progress to help people affected by mesothelioma. That way, we can change lives. 

Cheryl Lenny


Cheryl is the research networks and partnerships manager at BLF. Her background is in biology. Cheryl has worked managing research programmes and professional networks for a few charities.

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10 October 2017