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A recently published study by Japanese researchers appears to show that a novel type of cancer immunotherapy helped shrink tumors in lab mice, which could bode as a promising treatment for mesothelioma cancer and other serious types of cancers. The study examined the use of near-infrared photoimmunotherapy, a type of technology that uses a chemical to make some cells more sensitive to light and then targets the cancer cells with focused light beams.

Through the course of their study, the Japanese team exploited certain proteins which mesothelioma tumors overexpress. By targeting these proteins with the photoimmunty treatments, researchers were able to shrink the size of the mesothelioma tumors in the mice studied. Furthermore, when the tumor cells exploded, the lab subject’s immune system was able to identify the remaining cancer cell tissues as foreign bodies and attack them in response to destroy the cancer.

Researchers believe that by using a combination of surgery to remove the tumor and photoimmunotherapy to destroy remaining tumor cells, doctors can make great strides in treating cancer. While surgery and chemotherapy have been the traditional methods used to treat mesothelioma, various types of immunotherapy have shown great promise to treat mesothelioma and other forms of aggressive cancers.

A New Jersey federal judge recently handed down an important ruling which will allow thousands of talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits to proceed against pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiffs lawsuits allege that they developed serious forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, as a result of exposure to deadly asbestos fibers in Johnson & Johnson products such as the company’s iconic Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

An estimated 16,000 asbestos cancer lawsuits had been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation before the federal judge in a process in which she would make rulings on common discovery which would apply to each individual case. At issue was the expert testimony of eight witnesses put forth by the plaintiffs’ lawyers set to testify about how exposure to talc and asbestos can cause cancer based on epidemiological studies. Johnson & Johnson had sought to block the testimony of the experts by calling for a “Daubert” motion.

Fortunately for the plaintiffs, the judge conducting the evidentiary hearings determined that the experts may testify to certain areas of expertise. Had the judge ruled in Johnson & Johnson’s favor, it is likely that the plaintiffs would not have been able to carry on with their lawsuits to trial where victims could present evidence of the causal relationship between their exposure to talc and asbestos in Johnson & Johnson products and their development of cancer.

Recent analysis by a North Carolina-based research group showed an astounding amount of asbestos fibers in two talc-based eyeshadow products commonly available on websites like Amazon and eBay. The findings represent just the latest revelation in talc-based cosmetics products that have tested positive for the deadly carcinogen, with some of them directly marketed at younger customers.

According to the study performed by Scientific Analytical Institute, and commissioned by the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., 40% of the shades of eyeshadow in Jmkcoz’s 120 Colors Eyeshadow Palette contained asbestos, and 20% of the shades tested in the company’s Beauty Glazed Gorgeous Me Eye Shadow Tray Palette tested positive for asbestos. In response to the findings, both Amazon and eBay have removed the products for sale from their websites, but many other similar makeup kits are available for purchase on both online retailers.

“We urge anyone who has purchased either of these products for themselves, family or friends to take necessary steps to ensure they are no longer being used,” said Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, in a statement. “And we call on these companies and online retailers to immediately pull both of these products from their respective websites.”

A recent study published by an international team of researchers examined the safety and efficacy of radiation treatments for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in pleural lining of their lungs, known as pleural mesothelioma. In their study, the radiation oncology experts determined that proton therapy for mesothelioma cancer of the lungs may be a safer alternative to standard radiotherapy using photons to kill the tumor cells in the patient’s organs.

Commissioned on behalf of the International Particle Therapy Co-operative Group (PTCOG) Thoracic Subcommittee, the study outlines that radiation therapy for mesothelioma “remains challenging, as normal tissue toxicity limits the amount of radiation that can be safely delivered to the pleural surfaces, especially radiation dose to the contralateral lung.” What this means is that patients can only tolerate only so much of the radiation treatment to kill tumor cells before the healthy tissue surrounding the cancer also becomes affected.

According to their analysis, the researchers found that proton therapy resulted in more healthy tissue being spared from the harmful side effects of radiation therapy. As compared to photon radiation therapy, patients require a much more dramatic reduction in the dose of the treatment to surrounding tissue, which results in better outcomes for that healthy tissue. The researchers note that changes to the patient’s condition, with respect to migration of the disease to other organs in the body, could present challenges to providing the optimal dose of proton therapy to the patient.

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