Fighting mesothelioma in Cardiff
Matthew says research in Cardiff is leading the way in the fight against mesothelioma.
Every year, mesothelioma kills around 2,500 people in the UK – and unless new treatments are found it will claim the lives of more than 60,000 over the next 30 years.
Today is Action Mesothelioma Day, and we’re calling for more research into this deadly form of lung cancer. It’s a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and is caused by breathing in asbestos dust. It can take decades before any symptoms show up – and sadly, because there’s no cure, most people will die within a year of being diagnosed.
Frustratingly, there’s nowhere near enough money invested in research that would help our understanding of the condition. Figures from the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) show that in 2012 just £1.2 million was spent on mesothelioma research – that’s a lot lower than other types of cancer that kill similar numbers of people.
But since 2010, we’ve awarded over £2.5million in research grants towards finding treatments. That has allowed us to help set up Europe’s first ever mesothelioma blood and tissue bank. The ‘Mesobank’ is giving researchers access to vital research material, as well as a trans-Atlantic collaboration which will help us understand how the disease works.
Action to tackle mesothelioma is taking place here in Wales too, thanks to British Lung Foundation funding. Dr Zsuzsanna Tabi from Cardiff University and her team are looking at ways to help the body attack the cancerous cells. Our funding has helped them develop a complex tumour model in the lab, meaning they can carry out quick and accurate screenings of the treatment, that would take decades to test on people with the condition.
We’re hoping that in the long-term we’ll be able to determine the best treatment options for each person with mesothelioma, while decreasing the harmful side-effects.
We’re now calling on the government to do more to ensure funding is in place for vital projects like this. The number of people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma is expected to peak in the coming years, so the need for research couldn’t be more urgent. It’s not fair that an honest day’s work for many people here in Wales, across the UK and around the world should cost them their life.
Around £11billion is expected to be paid out on future mesothelioma compensation claims. If just a small fraction of this is invested into research it will make a massive difference to tens of thousands of people. We have to secure sustainable funding if we are to give people with mesothelioma and their families what they so desperately want; hope.