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Could Artificial Intelligence Help in the Fight Against Mesothelioma?

British researchers recently published findings in genomics studies which used artificial intelligence to help study mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to carcinogenic asbestos fibers. The hope of the findings is that the research and analysis could help improve patient outcomes and improve the prognosis for those who are diagnosed with the as of right now incurable disease, and potentially help find answers to a cure for mesothelioma.

The research undertaken by the University of Leicester Mesothelioma Research Programme reveals that, using AI analysis of DNA-sequenced cancer cells, the disease evolves along similar and repeated paths between individuals. Those paths predict the overall aggressiveness and could show possible individualized therapies which could be applied to help fight the disease.

Professor Dean Fennell, Chair of Thoracic Medical Oncology at the University of Leicester and Director of the Leicester Mesothelioma Research Programme, said “It has long been appreciated that asbestos causes mesothelioma, however, how this occurs remains a mystery. Using AI to interrogate genomic ‘big data’, this initial work shows us that mesotheliomas follow ordered paths of mutations during development and that these so-called trajectories predict not only how long a patient may survive, but also how to better treat cancer – something Leicester aims to lead on internationally through clinical trial initiatives.”

Professor Fennell, in collaboration with the University of Southampton, recently made a major breakthrough in treating mesothelioma by demonstrating that the use of an immunotherapy drug called nivolumab increased survival rates and stabilised the disease for patients. This was the first-ever trial to demonstrate improved survival in patients with relapsed mesothelioma, a promising sign that potential breakthroughs for mesothelioma patients could be coming in the future.

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to carcinogenic asbestos fibers, which was once commonly used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and construction applications for its heat-resistant properties and ability to be molded to fit various uses. Unfortunately, its use in these applications was not effectively halted until the federal government finally took action in the 1970s, and by that time millions of innocent people were already exposed to the carcinogen.

The disease commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and abdomen. One of the most difficult obstacles for mesothelioma patients to overcome is the 20 to 50 year latency period between exposure and diagnosis, which often leaves patients with diminished treatment options which can severely limit the survival rate of those individuals. The hope is that applied technology such as artificial intelligence and new immunotherapy treatments can turn the tide and help patients live long, healthy lives.

Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.



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