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Gene Therapy & Mesothelioma

Posted on: 18 June 2017, source: mesothelioma.com
Technological innovations are changing the world we live in every day, including the way society views diseases that have been around for hundreds of years. Cancer continues to be a leading cause of death around the world, but day by day we, as a society, are getting closer to finding a cure. In 2016, former President Barack Obama asked former Vice President Joe Biden to head the Cancer Moonshot Initiative (CMI), whose overarching goal would be to find a cure for cancer by the year 2020. In the time that’s passed, Biden has formed a committee of governmental organizations and a Blue Ribbon Panel that provided recommendations of how to achieve the lofty goals, and set to bringing this moonshot into reality.




Already, partnerships between nonprofit, for profit, and federal organizations have formed, allowing for greater sharing of existing patient and research data. Funding for the CMI has been secured by the 21st Century Cures Act in December 2016, which authorizes $1.8 billion for the initiative over 7 years. Increased federal and private funding for cancer research will be instrumental to overcoming barriers that have kept professionals from finding a cure for cancer. Much of the increased funding will be available for promising treatments that are still considered experimental, including gene therapy.

The inflow of additional funding for cancer research means rare cancers like mesothelioma will begin to benefit more from the research being done. While it’s true that cancers affecting fewer people typically receive less funding, increased interest placed on gene therapy and immunotherapy are allowing treatments for multiple types of cancer to be discovered and refined. Mesothelioma, for example, is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and can affect the lining of a person’s lung, abdomen, or heart. Due to its long latency period, between 10-50 years, mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until in its late stages, giving patients a poor prognosis. While traditional treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, have been able to extend the life of many patients, more research is needed to increase those odds for everyone as well as improving the quality of life of mesothelioma patients.

Gene therapy is a treatment technique using genes to treat or prevent disease. Currently, researchers are experimenting with a number of different approaches to gene therapy. One approach includes using special viruses modified in the lab, injecting the virus into the pleural space which then infects the mesothelioma cells. The virus carries a gene making the cancer cells easier to kill. Some promise has been seen from using gene therapy as a treatment for mesothelioma, but additional research is needed. Currently, it is available only through clinical trials or open access but with the driving factor of the CMI, the cancer research community remains hopeful.

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Posted on: 18 June 2017, source: mesothelioma.com
Technological innovations are changing the world we live in every day, including the way society views diseases that have been around for hundreds of years. Cancer continues to be a leading cause of death around the world, but day by day we, as a society, are getting closer to finding a cure. In 2016, former President Barack Obama asked former Vice President Joe Biden to head the Cancer Moonshot Initiative (CMI), whose overarching goal would be to find a cure for cancer by the year 2020. In the time that’s passed, Biden has formed a committee of governmental organizations and a Blue Ribbon Panel that provided recommendations of how to achieve the lofty goals, and set to bringing this moonshot into reality.
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