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USC Norris earns best-ever rating from National Cancer Institute

USC Norris earns best-ever rating from National Cancer Institute
The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Centered earned an “outstanding” distinction from the National Cancer Institute rating as part of its five-year core grant renewal process.

U.S.C. Norris earns best-ever rating from National Cancer Institute

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has received an elite score from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as part of its five-year core grant renewal process.

The June site review produced the best result ever for the cancer center, earning an “outstanding” distinction from the NCI reviewers.

“This highly laudatory review is a validation by the nation’s cancer experts of all the considerable effort and talent of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center senior leaders, program, and core directors and administration, “said Stephen B. Gruber, MD. PhD, MPH, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer.

“The NCI recognition reaffirms the center as a scientific leader as well as a vital community and regional resource,” said Carman A. Puliafino, MD, MBA, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Established in 1971, the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has benefited from continuous recognition and funding from the NCI since 1973, when it was named one of the original eight comprehensive cancer centers in the country. In its previous review, USC Norris had received a score in the range classified by the NCI as “excellent.”

“We are now poised to build upon the incredible accomplishment to further strengthen our efforts to push the boundaries of cancer discovery in order to better prevent, diagnose, treat and cure cancer,” said Gruber, an oncologist and geneticist who holds the H. Leslie and Elaine S. Hoffman Cancer Research Chair at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

The review recommends continued full funding from the NCI to continue its support of a broad range of clinical, research and educational programs at USC Norris. The award is designed to reduce the impact of cancer upon the lives of people in California and beyond.

New Drug Targets Cancer Caused By Asbestos

May 26, 2014

Mesothelioma lung cancer can come to those persons who loved, and simply hugged their parent who worked around asbestos.  For example, now at age 45, Heather Von St. James recalls her father working as a building demolition employee around materials containing asbestos.  He would return home each day thoroughly covered by dirt and dust. She remembers how much she enjoyed hugging her father each night.mesothelioma-studies

By age 36, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the deadly yet to be cured cancer connected with exposure to asbestos particles.  Mesothelioma can take decades to develop and it often kills within months after symptoms appear. Heather was a new mother to a 3-month-old daughter, and she was told her only chance to live was by having a lung removed.

In 2013, more than 107,000 people died worldwide from mesothelioma.  However, Heather opted for the surgery instead, and removed the disease in time to stay alive.   According to Ms. St. James, “There’s a lot of people who don’t.”

Fortunately for other people with mesothelioma, or those that will discover they have the deadly disease, a new wave of drugs developed and being tested are giving new hope that mesothelioma cancer may be slowed or stopped.  Drug researchers, like Verastem Inc. (VSTM), GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), and Dr. Parkash Gill of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center have announced that they are testing new cancer fighting drugs.

According to Dean Fennell, a lead researcher doing a trial study with a new drug by Verastem:

“[Mesothelioma] is not a curable cancer; it’s not a disease that can be wiped out completely by surgery as you see with lung cancer. Finding ways to stop that process or slow it down can have big implications for patient survival.”

Unlike lung cancers, Mesothelioma affects the cell tissues that cover the lungs.  It can also affect the tissues around the heart and abdominal organs.  Like all cancers, mesothelioma is treated by doctors with cutting the cancer tissue out, or irradiating it, but both methods sometimes have dangerous side effects.

New Drugs Offer New Hope to Replace Old Treatments

Verastem (based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts) has developed a drug (VS-6063) that is now in late-stage human testing. Consecutively, Glaxo (based out of London) has a compound that is being tried in combination with another product in an early-stage study. The drugs from these two companies each target an enzyme involved in cell movement that permits the cancer to spread.

The enzyme is a key marker of aggressive cancers and is overabundant in many tumors that spread quickly. Also, patients with an inactive gene called Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) respond well to the test drugs being developed where nearly half of mesothelioma patients have inactive NF2s.

In the U.S. and Europe, the VS-6063 treatment has been granted orphan drug status.  This means that Verastem with their VS-6063 product is given seven (7) years of exclusive marketing.  A Bloomberg report states that according to four (4) analysts, the VS-6063 drug could possibly generate $450 million in sales by 2019 if the product is cleared for public use.

Earliest Stage

Defactinib is the medicine that targets early stage cancer stem cells.  These are considered to be theorigin of the cancer and frequently are resistant to existing therapies.   The cancer stem cells for mesothelioma are known to be particularly resistant to chemotherapy.

Now, Mr. Dean Fennell does not have an economic connection with Verastem, nor is he a paid consultant to the company.  And yet, Mr. Fennell (who is chairman of thoracic medical oncology at the University of Leicester in England) stated during an interview:

“The hope is we can suppress the cancer in such a way that it becomes a more chronic disease, rather than have a disease that’s going to progress relentlessly and kill the patient”

Verastem with a market value of about $215 million is developing the drug assisted by several renowned pharmaceutical companies providing guidance. The development team includes former Genzyme Corp. CEO Henri Termeer; Human Genome Project leader Eric Lander; and Phillip Sharp, a Nobel laureate at Biogen Idec Inc.

Other Drug Combinations

Under a license from Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca Plc of London is testing a drug called tremelimumab, on mesothelioma in a mid-stage trial. The treatment works differently from the other developmental drugs in that it helps the patient’s immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells.  According to

Carolyn Buser-Doepner (VP for tumor signaling at Glaxo, the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker), there are plans to combine a new drug GSK2256098 with some other medicines to potentially make cancer treatments more effective.  In one early-stage trial, it will be paired up with Glaxo’s Mekinist, which is approved for melanoma.  She said, “The pre-clinical data are very encouraging. We’re very excited about it.”

Boehringer’s Drug

A fourth drug, nintedanib from Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, is in early-stage testing for mesothelioma, according to a spokesman. Unlike the previous mentioned medicines, this one works by targeting proteins directly related to the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors.

According to the director of research at the British Lung Foundation, Noel Snell, the kind of research studies most likely to yield improvements in cancer care are those that investigate the nature of the disease itself.  Still, treatments being tested today on mesothelioma are most encouraging.

Snell said in a statement:

“It is shameful that this kind of fundamental research remains so drastically underfunded, and that the number of trials available for mesothelioma patients is still dwarfed so dramatically by the number available to other cancer patients.”

Dr. Gill and EphB4 Treatment

For several years, Dr. Parkash Gill of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has proceeded with Phase I Clinical Trials with the new cancer fighting drug Eph-B4 made available to qualifying mesothelioma patients. With generous support from the Mesothelioma Research
Foundation of America
, the initial Phase I Trial Eph-B4 has been available to newly diagnosed patients who have not Ask Dr. Gill about the most recent clinical trials avaialbleundergone any conventional lung cancer treatment options, as well as those patients who have exhausted all other treatment options such as surgery and chemotherapy.

The results of these recent clinical trials have truly been exciting as Dr. Gill reports that Eph-B4 is showing great promise as a solo treatment, or in conjunction with other drugs like Alimta, Cisplatin and Carboplatin.

The research of Dr. Gill, in conjunction with similar studies by other Oncologists, have improved the understanding among Primary Care physicians about the detection process, and given them better options to offer patients with lung cancer including mesothelioma.

Eph-B4 as a Better Treatment

Treatments have also gotten better because we now understand two principles: a)molecular changes in lung cancer with very specific mutations; and b)medication (like Eph-B4) that is specific to addressing the treatment of only one cellular abnormality.

As Dr. Gill with the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America continues the goal to make mesothelioma a disease of the past, our understanding of the human body immune system has also improved.    From this we have Eph-B4, an immune specific treatment that assists a patient with lung cancer to live longer with fewer side effects.

His studies have contributed to the evolution of mesothelioma cancer research over the last decade.  Collectively, researchers are producing a canonical story in which the range of research works has grown a consensus among recognized oncologists and Primary Care physicians of a “great” or “major” break through with the two principles mentioned above.  Basically, we can now identify subsets of cancer in a patient at the molecular level and bring a retardant treatment (immunity) to that cancer in those patients.  And this observation continues to this day to be repeated by many research projects.  More than ever before, researchers continue to identify specific cancer mutations and use similar drugs to shut down these cancers and improve patient survival.

Asbestos: The Miracle Fiber That Kills

Asbestos was named the “miracle fiber,” but has become the topic and issue of many lawsuits claiming losses as well as damages from illness caused by asbestos products.  It was commonly used in building materials such as insulation for years because it was cheap, abundant and heat-resistant.

Many countries have banned asbestos mining.  However, the World Health Organization estimates that as many as 125 million people worldwide continue to be exposed to asbestos either at work or in their homes because it continues to be mined and made into  products from in RussiaChina and India.

Unfortunately, mesothelioma cancer can lay dormant for as long as 50 years before spreading, which explains why rates have risen long after many countries have banned the asbestos.

New cases of mesothelioma cancer in the United Kingdom, where asbestos was restricted starting in the 1980s and outlawed fully in 2006, were 2,125 in 2012.  These numbers are expected to peak in 2015.  In the United States, the number of new cancer cases has been stable, hovering around 3,000 per year since 2000.  This stability was expected because of extensive efforts put into public education.  Still, a complete ban of Asbestos in the U.S. was overturned in the courts.  One of the world’s largest asbestos exporters, Canada, closed its remaining mines in 2011.

An Asian Asbestos Mesothelioma Cancer ‘Tsunami’

In Japan, asbestos was banned in 2006, the Japanese government pays the full cost of treatment for related illnesses, and rate of new cases of cancer are predicted to continue rising until 2027.  The director of a World Health Organization occupational health group, Ken Takahashi, has warned Asian governments to prepare themselves for an “asbestos tsunami.”

Again, Dean Fennell reminds us:

 “In the early ’70s, this was an incredibly rare disease. Now my clinic is full of patients with mesothelioma. Because the rates are increasing, we have a real need now to identify effective treatment.”

A cure for mesothelioma can not be found fast enough.  Still, there are survivors like Heather Von St. James, who breaths with great effort during Minnesota winters with her one remaining lung, and she volunteers her time to be a coach to other mesothelioma patients.   By her personal experience with mesothelioma, she wants other victims of mesothelioma to understand:

 “If they can keep it under control,
that’s the first hope.”

 

No Short Cut to Accomplishments with Stem-Cell Therapy: Research Studies Might Get Retracted

Immunotherapy cancer stem-cell

Some recent research that specified a faster and simpler method for making stem-cell s just might get retracted because one of the two scientists involved in the research project has expressed doubts about the premises regarding their experiments.

It was Teruhiko Wakayama, a researcher at the University of Yamanashi, Japan, who stated he was no longer certain about the premise of the data he used.  During an interview with Japan’s largest international news service, NHK World, Mr. Wakyama said his research studies should be withdrawn from review.  His comments with the NHK news service emphasize the peer pressure that medical researchers experience with Japan’s push into stem-cell science subsequent to the Nobel Prize won by Shinya Yamanaka from KyotoUniversity in 2012.

Early Stem-Cell Therapy Developments

Basically, during an embryo’s early stages of development, stem cells are pluripotent, which mean they can become any type of tissue in a patient’s body.   As the embryo continues to develop, the stem-cell s begin to specialize by differentiation into units for the body’s different tissue structures.

There are currently several ways to regenerate pluripotent stem cells, including one method that uses embryos and another method that reprograms matured stem cells by inserting genes.

However, the controversial studies submitted by Mr. Wakyama discovered that ordinary cells taken from newborn mice could be transformed into stem-cell s without adding genes.   Instead, researchers (led by Haruko Obokata at the RikenCenter for Developmental Biology) shocked the cells with a dose of “sublethal stress” like mechanical force to trigger the transformation into stem-cell s.

According to Nissim Benvenisty, director of the stem-cell therapy laboratory at HebrewUniversity in Jerusalem:

“The study surprised me when it came out because it contradicted the common sense that we have acquired so far in the field.  At the same time, this is the beauty of the scientific world, in which editors allow publication of papers that contradict common sense to allow novel data to be discussed and understood.”

Global Pressure for Stem-Cell Therapy Accomplishments

Global competition within the medical science field is well recognized.  In 2013, Japan’s Health Ministry cleared the way for the world’s first clinical trial with stem-cell s made using a separate technique from Shinya  Yamanaka, the Nobel Prize winner from KyotoUniversity.   And, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to cement his country’s leadership in the field of Stem-Cell therapy research.  He has pushed through bills that fast-track regulatory approval for cell-based products and set new research guidelines.

Regarding the research and paper submitted by Teruhiko Wakayama,  Japan’s Riken research center  (a government-funded organization) will continue an investigation  of the two studies published January 2014 in the journal, Nature, and will consider its options including retracting them from publication.

Still, the word is out.. There might be a faster and simpler method for making stem cells, and influencing stem-cell therapy.

Dr. Gill Research

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Mesothelioma Cancer – The Latest News

Mesothelioma kills life-long criminal and infamous author

James Fogle stole his first car at the young age of 12 and set a course for the remainder of his life that would consist of an endless string of crimes.  James, who contracted mesothelioma, spent most of his life living in a prison, and eventually died living behind bars at the age of 75 in August, 2012 probably from the malignant mesothelioma he got while working as a pipe fitter.

Fogle described himself as a restless child born in a small town in Wisconsin and lived with an abusive father.  Early in his youth, he decided that stealing cars would be a form of escapism.  Consequently, James would spend much of his life as a youth in juvenile correctional facilities.  According to his autobiographies, it was in these facilities where he learned methods from other criminal detainees on how to pull off various crimes.  As he sustained his life path of criminal behavior, after serving time in jail as an adult and learning from fellow inmates, upon his release he began robbing drugstores.  James Fogle, all his life, was in and out of prison and seldom experienced freedom for more than a year between sentence terms.James Fogle dies of mesothelioma while living in prison

During one of his prison terms, he was trained to be a steam pipe fitter.  It is suspected that during this era of his life he was exposed to asbestos, which later led to his development of mesothelioma.  When one is  exposed to asbestos fibers, some of the fibers floating in the are you breath can become trapped in the lungs when inhaled, and this can cause the deadly diseases known as mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma lung cancer is caused by exposure to floating asbestos particles.  However, with mesothelioma there is usually a latency period of 20 to 50 years from the time of exposure before the development of symptoms can be recognized.

Mesothelioma diagnosis typically begins with a sufferer’s visit to the doctor complaining of chronic chest pain. This pain is caused as a result of a buildup of fluid inside the pleural space; this is called pleural effusion and is the most common presenting symptom of malignant mesothelioma.

Preliminary mesothelioma detection can be achieved through a chest imagery scan (CT scan, x-ray); however, mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed as viral pneumonia at this stage because of certain symptomatic similarities between the two. The only way to definitively verify a suspected case of malignant mesothelioma is through a biopsy.

Because of his mesothelioma cancer condition and toward the end of his life, James was required to use an oxygen tank to breathe.

Mesothelioma kills book writer

While James  only had a sixth-grade education, he became inspired by books he read during his prison time.  From his reading he developed his own writing style, and wrote 11 autobiographical novels while doing his time.   “Drugstore Cowboy,” is the story about drug addicts who teamed up to support their drug addictions by working together to  rob  pharmacies.  This was the only book he wrote that got published.  This novel was used to create a highly-regarded and  successful film by director Gus Van Sant.  The film was made in 1989 with Matt Dillon playing the lead role.  William Burroughs, one of the major faces of the Beat Generation, had a minor role in the movie, and lauded Fogle’s novel.

At the Monroe Correctional Complex in Monroe, Washington, James Fogle was serving out his 16-year sentence for  crimes committed when he died of mesothelioma cancer.

References:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/us/james-fogle-author-of-drugstore-cowboy-dies-at-75.html

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/26/local/la-me-james-fogle-20120826

http://seattletimes.com/html/obituaries/2018979541_cowboy24m.html

Mesothelioma Awareness Gets A Boost On Rare Disease Day 2013

Mesothelioma awareness fits the focus of  Rare Disease Day 2013

The fifth annual U.S. Rare Disease Day was held on February 28th.  Organized and supported by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), this event has been created to direct public attention on approximately 7,000 rare diseases that affect almost 30 million people in America.  And among the rare “orphaned” disorders is Mesothelioma, the  asbestos-related cancer disease which affects one-tenth of the American population.

Mesothelioma, NORD and Rare Disease DayOrphan disease status is assigned to any disease or disorder that fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.    Mesothelioma cancer, for example, has about 3,000 people in American that are diagnosed each year with the disease.   Rare Disease Day is an international advocacy day designated to raise public awareness of rare diseases, such as Mesothelioma,  and increase recognition globally with a concern solving rare disease effects.

According to NORD president and CEO, Peter Saltonsall, “There are nearly 30 million Americans—and millions more around the world—affected by rare diseases”

“Everyone knows someone with a rare disease. But, while many of these diseases are serious and lifelong, most have no treatment and many are not even being studied by researchers. This leaves patients and families without hope for a better future.”

Because mesothelioma is relative rare, as are other orphan diseases, managing this cancer and attempting to discover  appropriate treatment is sometimes overwhelming to the patient and their family.  And based on government statistics, orphan diseases are serious or life-threatening to  85-90 percent of patients, and still as few as 200 of theses diseases  like mesothelioma have any effective treatments currently.

Mesothelioma Cancer and the National Organization for Rare Disorders

This years conference theme for 2013 is global in focus, called  “Rare Disorders Without Borders.”   The day will have special significance for the United States since this year 2013 is the 30th anniversary of the congressional Orphan Drug Act.  Therefore, there are additional incentives that should encourage U.S. companies to develop treatments for rare diseases, as well as for  N.O.R.D. which was established in 1983 by advocates of patients with rare disorders like mesothelioma cancer.

N.O.R.D. set the 2013 program for Rare Disease Day to include activities in the U.S. that place a spotlight on awareness events at many  State Houses, a Rare Disease Research Hall of Fame, a Handprints Across America photo gallery, and an event at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD.

Even after the passing of this special day, we still need your support and advocacy, so you still can get more information about Rare Disease Day activities for the United States at: www.rarediseaseday.us.  And additional information about global activities can be found at:  www.rarediseaseday.org.

MESOTHELIOMA DIAGNOSIS

Mesothelioma diagnosis typically begins with a sufferer’s visit to the doctor complaining of chronic chest pain. This pain is caused as a result of a buildup of fluid inside the pleural space; this is called pleural effusion and is the most common presenting symptom of malignant mesothelioma.malignant mesothelioma xray

Preliminary mesothelioma detection can be achieved through a chest imagery scan (CT scan, x-ray); however, mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed as viral pneumonia at this stage because of certain symptomatic similarities between the two. The only way to definitively verify a suspected case of malignant mesothelioma is through a biopsy.

A biopsy is a relatively minor procedure (dependent on the location of the tumor) during which a small section of suspect tissue is removed. The removed section is examined by a histopathologist, an expert in the study of diseased tissue. Histopathological examination can confirm a case of malignant mesothelioma while also typing and staging it. Understanding the type and stage can help doctors suggest the best of treatment.

You can also have your questions about malignant mesothelioma and clinical trials for new cures, answered for free by Dr. Gill at the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America by clicking here: Ask Dr. Gill

Vacuum Cleaner Theft Sparks Asbestos Fears

Asbestos Fears Sparked By Vacuum Cleaner Theft

Police from Great Britain  are asking the public to help find a stolen industrial vacuum cleaner which was used to suck up and remove asbestos.  According to BBC reports, thieves broke into a construction site under renovation over the weekend in the town of Carlisle, northern England.  After moving five vacuum cleaners into another room, the robbers chose to steal a yellow Numatic cleaner.  Unfortunately,  anyone coming in contact with that cleaner will now face serious health risks  and is advised not to touch the unit because it contains asbestos.  Just three years previously, a  situation just like this occurred when burglars stole a batch of industrial vacuums from Redcar & Cleveland College in Northeast England.  According to the BBC, the police responded by releasing a warning to the public that told them not to purchase the cleaners if they were offered them.

Asbestos is Cause for Extreme CautionAsbestos is Cause for Extreme Caution Danger

When it comes to asbestos, the cause for extreme caution is warranted. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, there is no recognized safe level of asbestos exposure.  Inhalation of the fibrous mineral causes serious illnesses, including asbestosis, cancers of the lungs and other organs, and mesothelioma.  Asbestos is present in many older buildings in the United Kingdom and the United States.  Versatile, cheap, and flame-retardant, the fibrous mineral was used extensively in building materials until about 1980, when the dangers of inhaling the material became widely known.  Because asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma take decades to develop, thousands of people were exposed to the material while working on job sites.  Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition?  Do you believe you were exposed to asbestos at a job site?  Then you may be interested in having your questions about asbestos exposure and the possibility of having mesothelioma answered by Dr. Gill, here at the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America

 

 

Fighting the Asbestos fibrous hazard

Asbestos fibrous hazard

The World Health Organization (WHO)  has classified asbestos as a “carcinogen” which causes lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

“Instead of going about it in phases, India needs to completely ban mining, trade, manufacturing and use of all forms of asbestos-based products,” …

Asbestos banning

Given the health hazards that asbestos poses and the fact that International Maritime Organisation (IMO), of which India is a member state since 1959, has banned installation of all types of asbestos-containing materials as of January 1, 2011, activists have expressed “shock and surprise” over India’s willingness to accept use of asbestos in the aircraft carrier’s insulation in the boiler section.

“Though India has banned mining of asbestos, its use has not been completely stopped. Chrysotile, the most common form of asbestos, is a fibrous substance which is mixed with cement to create a fire-retardant mixture that is applied to corrugated sheets and pipes.”

Read more on The Hindu

Asbestos World Health Organization

More about asbestos products:

http://www.mesorfa.info/mesothelioma-risk-increases-along-with-consumption-of-asbestos-products/

Studies on Mesothelioma and Chromosomal Abberrations

 

Article Reviews

 

Mesothelioma Cancer Research Study #1:

 

“Specificity of asbestos-induced chromosomal aberrations in short-term cultured human mesothelial cells”

Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics Volume 41, Issue 1, August 1989, Pages 33-39

by Kenth Olofssona and Joachim Mark, a Department of Pathology and Cytogenetics, Central Hospital, Skövde, Sweden.

Abstract – Short-term cultured normal human mesothelial cells were exposed for 48 hours to three different asbestos compounds, crocidiolite, chrysotile, and amosite. In the concentration used (0.01 mg/ml) all three asbestiform minerals caused, within a few days, a significant increase of cells showing numerical and/or structural abnormalities. The abnormalities were analyzed in detail using banding techniques. The results were compared with the cytogenetic observations in 52 published cases of mesotheliomas.

This comparison revealed only a few similarities as regards numerical deviations. The structural rearrangements in asbestos-exposed cultures, however, in many instances involved chromosome types and chromosome regions preferentially affected in mesotheliomas.”

 

Mesothelioma Cancer Research Study #2:

“Recovery of ingested asbestos fibers from the gastrointestinal lymph in rats”

Environmental Research Volume 22, Issue 1, June 1980, Pages 201-216

by P. Sebastien, c, R. Masse†, d and J. Bignon.

Abstract – Using the transmission electron microscope, asbestos fibers have been assessed in lymph fluid collected from the thoracic lymph duct in five groups of rats previously exposed to asbestos fibers (by ingestion). Ten rats were gavaged a single dose weighing approximately 20 mg. Five were given pure UICC chrysotile A while another group of five had pure UICC crocidolite.

All the rats of the chrysotile group were positive animals with recovery rate values ranging from 6.9 × 10−7 to 3 × 10−5 (90% of the fibers being recovered during the first 16 hr following the gavage). The crocidolite group had only three positive animals and lower recovery rate values of 5.7 × 10−8 to 5.6 × 10−7. A third group was fed a synthetic diet containing 1%, by weight, chrysotile with a majority of short fibers (90% below 4 μm). Of the 15 rats comprising this group, 13 were positive with maximum daily recovery rates ranging from 2.1 × 10−7 to 2.1 × 10−6. A group of eight rats fed the same kind of diet but containing a higher proportion of long fibers, showed only four positive animals, however, they had higher daily recovery rates ranging from 1.9 × 10−5 to 2.1 × 10−4. No fibers were encountered in the samples of the two control rats. This study demonstrates the passage of chrysotile and crocidolite fibers across the gastrointestinal wall, with the passage rate being higher for long fibers than short ones.”

 

Mesothelioma Cancer Research Study #3:

“Penetration of cells by asbestos fibers”

 Environ Health Perspect. 1974 December; 9: 255–260

by J. M. G. Davis, R. E. Bolton, and J. Garrett

Abstract – Studies on the behavior of asbestos fibers within tissues have shown that the only cells that regularly contain asbestos are macrophages and their derivatives. However, these cells actively incorporate the asbestos fibers by the process of phagocytosis, and there is little evidence of direct penetration. Examination of the gut lining after prolonged asbestos ingestion has shown no evidence of dust penetration either through or between the epithelial cells. The structure and arrangement of these cells is discussed, and it is suggested that they are exceptionally well adapted to prevent penetration by any solid material.

 

Mesothelioma Cancer Research Study #4:

“Static electrification of airborne asbestos: A study of its causes, assessment and effects on deposition in the lungs of rats”

American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, Volume 42, Issue 10 October 1981, pages 711 – 721

by J. H. Vincent; W. B. Johnston; A. D. Jones; A. M. Johnston

Abstract – The paper describes a series of experiments carried out in the laboratory to investigate how asbestos fibres might become electrostatically charged during the process of being made airborne, the magnitude and polarity of the charge per fibre, and the effect on lung deposition in rats. Measurements of the penetration of fibres through an electrostatic elutriator enabled the magnitude and distribution of charge in a cloud of fibres to be quantitatively assessed. Thus it was found that a typical fibre of UICC amosite, as dispersed in a typical animal exposure chamber, carried a net charge of magnitude equivalent to about 60 electrons. The distribution of charge was bimodal, suggesting that two charging mechanisms were taking place, the main one producing net negative charge and the lesser one producing net positive charge. These were attributed to materials in the dust dispenser used and with which the fibres came into contact during dispersal. It was found that the magnitude of charge on a typical fibre could be significantly reduced by the introduction of equal numbers of positive and negative gaseous ions from an a.c. corona discharge ioniser. Finally it was found that enhancement by up to 40% of the dust deposited into the slowest clearing part of the respiratory tract of experimental rats was brought about by the electrostatic charge on the airborne fibres. The implications of this finding in the field of occupational hygiene are briefly discussed.

 

Burglar Inhaled Asbestos Fibers During Theft Leading To Mesothelioma Cancer

symptoms of asbestos exposureA burglar may have gotten more than he bargained for when he entered a building that was under renovation, intent on stealing tools left behind by the contractors doing the renovation work. What the bandit didn’t realize, however, was that the house on James Street in Syracuse, NY was filled with airborne asbestos.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard New York Newspaper, the criminal – whose name was not released – gained access to the building by knocking a 3 foot by 3 foot hole in a brick wall. A police report stated that he most likely didn’t observe the warning signs that were placed around the structure noting that asbestos removal was taking place inside. The doors and windows were all boarded up with plywood.

Bill McHale, foreman for Conifer-LeChase Construction of Syracuse, NY, the company performing the asbestos abatement, told the media that there are safe areas and containment areas within the building, and it was evident that the robber had entered into a containment area after breaking into the house through the wall.  The police were told by Mr. McHale that the containment area is “extremely dangerous” and full of asbestos dust, and that the burglar has put his health at serious risk for having entered the asbestos dust part of the building.

While the burglar has escaped with several pieces of electric equipment, gas-powered equipment, ladders, scrap wire and copper, he probably inhaled significant portions of dangerous, sharp asbestos fibers, that may very well become imbedded in his lungs which eventually will cause mesothelioma cancer. Many people develop this cancer after years of exposure to the toxic mineral in the workplace, such as in factories and shipyards, but doctors and researchers have determined that even the smallest amount of asbestos exposure can lead to the development of cancerous tumors.

A List of Studies on Mesothelioma and Chromosomal Abberrations

Study #1

Specificity of asbestos-induced chromosomal aberrations in short-term cultured human mesothelial cells

Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics
Volume 41, Issue 1, August 1989, Pages 33-39
by Kenth Olofssona and Joachim Mark
Department of Pathology and Cytogenetics, Central Hospital, Skvde, Sweden

Abstract – Short-term cultured normal human mesothelial cells were exposed for 48 hours to three different asbestos compounds, crocidiolite, chrysotile, and amosite. In the concentration used (0.01 mg/ml) all three asbestiform minerals caused, within a few days, a significant increase of cells showing numerical and/or structural abnormalities. The abnormalities were analyzed in detail using banding techniques. The results were compared with the cytogenetic observations in 52 published cases of mesotheliomas. This comparison revealed only a few similarities as regards numerical deviations. The structural rearrangements in asbestos-exposed cultures, however, in many instances involved chromosome types and chromosome regions preferentially affected in mesotheliomas.

Study #2

Recovery of ingested asbestos fibers from the gastrointestinal lymph in rats

Environmental Research Volume 22, Issue 1, June 1980, Pages 201-216
by P. Sebastien, c, R. Masse, d and J. Bignon.

Abstract – Using the transmission electron microscope, asbestos fibers have been assessed in lymph fluid collected from the thoracic lymph duct in five groups of rats previously exposed to asbestos fibers (by ingestion). Ten rats were gavaged a single dose weighing approximately 20 mg. Five were given pure UICC chrysotile A while another group of five had pure UICC crocidolite. All the rats of the chrysotile group were positive animals with recovery rate values ranging from 6.9 107 to 3 105 (90% of the fibers being recovered during the first 16 hr following the gavage). The crocidolite group had only three positive animals and lower recovery rate values of 5.7 108 to 5.6 107. A third group was fed a synthetic diet containing 1%, by weight, chrysotile with a majority of short fibers (90% below 4 m). Of the 15 rats comprising this group, 13 were positive with maximum daily recovery rates ranging from 2.1 107 to 2.1 106. A group of eight rats fed the same kind of diet but containing a higher proportion of long fibers, showed only four positive animals, however, they had higher daily recovery rates ranging from 1.9 105 to 2.1 104. No fibers were encountered in the samples of the two control rats. This study demonstrates the passage of chrysotile and crocidolite fibers across the gastrointestinal wall, with the passage rate being higher for long fibers than short ones.

Study #3

Penetration of cells by asbestos fibers

Environ Health Perspect. 1974 December; 9: 255260
by J. M. G. Davis, R. E. Bolton, and J. Garrett

Abstract – Studies on the behavior of asbestos fibers within tissues have shown that the only cells that regularly contain asbestos are macrophages and their derivatives. However, these cells actively incorporate the asbestos fibers by the process of phagocytosis, and there is little evidence of direct penetration. Examination of the gut lining after prolonged asbestos ingestion has shown no evidence of dust penetration either through or between the epithelial cells. The structure and arrangement of these cells is discussed, and it is suggested that they are exceptionally well adapted to prevent penetration by any solid material.

Study #4

Static electrification of airborne asbestos: A study of its causes, assessment and effects on deposition in the lungs of rats

American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, Volume 42, Issue 10 October 1981, pages 711 – 721
by J. H. Vincent; W. B. Johnston; A. D. Jones; A. M. Johnston

Abstract – The paper describes a series of experiments carried out in the laboratory to investigate how asbestos fibers might become electrostatically charged during the process of being made airborne, the magnitude and polarity of the charge per fiber, and the effect on lung deposition in rats. Measurements of the penetration of fibers through an electrostatic elutriator enabled the magnitude and distribution of charge in a cloud of fibers to be quantitatively assessed. Thus it was found that a typical fiber of UICC amosite, as dispersed in a typical animal exposure chamber, carried a net charge of magnitude equivalent to about 60 electrons. The distribution of charge was bimodal, suggesting that two charging mechanisms were taking place, the main one producing net negative charge and the lesser one producing net positive charge. These were attributed to materials in the dust dispenser used and with which the fibers came into contact during dispersal. It was found that the magnitude of charge on a typical fiber could be significantly reduced by the introduction of equal numbers of positive and negative gaseous ions from an a.c. corona discharge ionizer. Finally it was found that enhancement by up to 40% of the dust deposited into the slowest clearing part of the respiratory tract of experimental rats was brought about by the electrostatic charge on the airborne fibers. The implications of this finding in the field of occupational hygiene are briefly discussed.