Mesothelioma patients in Louisville may have access to improved treatment in the years ahead based on research into a blood-clotting pathway. Researchers at the Langone Medical Center in New York and the Cancer and Vascular Biology Research Center in Haifa, Israel, report that initial results were promising and that additional research is needed, including human clinical trials.

According to researchers, most people with mesothelioma see little benefit from chemotherapy treatments. Researchers focused on how they could block an enzyme called heparanase. Heparanase is responsible for allowing blood to clot by breaking down another substance produced by the body, heparin, which prevents clots. Most cancer tumors produce a lot of heparanase, and the result is that the tumors become more aggressive.

Researchers found that when they blocked heparanase, mesothelioma growth slowed. They began in a laboratory setting and then tested their theory with mice. They also looked at heparanase levels in patients with mesothelioma. Those who had the highest levels of heparanase also had the shortest survival times. Therefore, it appears that inhibiting the production of heparanese may extend the lives of some patients with mesothelioma. Defibrotide is a type of heparanase inhibitor drug that is used by people who have vascular occlusion disease. This means clinical trials might happen sooner since the drug has already been approved for human use.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to products containing asbestos. Many people develop it as a result of workplace exposure, but people may also be exposed to asbestos at school or at home. People who suffer from asbestos-related diseases or people whose loved ones have died from such a disease might be able to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for the exposure. Compensation in such a case might pay for lost income, medical costs and other expenses.