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How we’re supporting future mesothelioma research leaders

Cheryl from our research team tells us how we're backing the next generation looking into cures and treatments for mesothelioma.

team meso @iMig 2018

Last month I went along to the world's largest mesothelioma research conference, where 4 researchers funded by Asthma + Lung UK presented their exciting research.

The International Mesothelioma Interest Group international conference (iMig 2018) saw hundreds of researchers and health care professionals descend on Ottawa, Canada to hear about the latest research into this deadly disease.

It’s vital to support the next generation of lung health experts. That’s why we’re backing promising young researchers who in the future may be able to find better ways to treat and prevent mesothelioma. One day they may be the ones to find a cure.

Who did we fund and what are they researching?

Dr Anna Bibby presented 2 studies. The first looked at people with mesothelioma and pleural effusions, which is when fluid builds up in the space around your lungs. Anna’s research helped identify patterns between people living with the disease.

By understanding more about how these symptoms affect people, we can identify how to give them the best care. The second study looked at pleural infections in people with mesothelioma and if an infection will affect a person’s survival. The results suggested pleural infections may indicate shorter survival after diagnosis.

Mr Alan Dawson studied people who had surgery for mesothelioma. He wanted to find out whether people who were given a special type of nutrition after surgery, had shorter stays in hospital and whether they survived for longer after surgery.

Alan found that giving people a type of nutrition that supports all their nutritional needs, reduced their stay in hospital. Alan also had a poster on display, which looked at how having chemotherapy before surgery for mesothelioma affected people after surgery. 

Dr Sarah Taylor presented her research on a gene called BAP-1. In some people with mesothelioma, their BAP-1 gene is altered and this can make the cancer more likely to grow.

Sarah and her team in Liverpool now understand more about the role of BAP-1. They can now also start to identify potential treatments that could be helpful in patients that don’t have a working BAP-1 gene.

Dr Krishna Kolluri from University College London also presented research on the BAP-1 gene. He looked at how the loss of the BAP-1 gene could be used to identify patients who might benefit from certain treatments. This work suggests that if you lose the function of your BAP-1 gene, your cells become very sensitive to a drug called TRAIL. TRAIL can cause cells to die.

Krishna’s research suggests that TRAIL may be a possible treatment in mesothelioma, and that losing the function of your BAP-1 status could be a useful measure for making decisions about prescribing TRAIL-like drugs. ‘Personalised therapy’ like this will mean people getting the right treatment for them, while avoiding giving drugs to people who won't benefit from them.

What else did we do at the conference?

We fund life-changing research into mesothelioma. But to do this we need to be up to date on the latest developments in mesothelioma research. I learnt a lot!

We also wanted to tell more researchers about our new Mesothelioma Research Network (MRN). This network is a space for researchers to share ideas and support each other. We hope that this will help them to find new ways of diagnosing and treating people with mesothelioma.

Want to support researchers like Anna, Alan, Sarah and Krishna? Give today to help fund life-changing research into lung disease.

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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7 June 2018