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University of Hawaii Study Reveals Possible Link Between Genetic Mutation and Susceptibility to Mesothelioma

A recently published study by researchers at the University of Hawaii has uncovered a possible link between carrying a particular genetic mutation and developing mesothelioma, particularly if the individual is exposed to asbestos fibers. The research is part of ongoing research by oncologists and geneticists into the role that genetics may play in developing the rare form of cancer and creating personalized treatment plans for patients in order to prolong their rates of survival.

According to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, individuals who inherit a pair of mutated so-called “BLM” genes are more likely to develop mesothelioma cancer. People with the BLM gene are often affected by Bloom Syndrome, which exhibits such characteristics as a short stature, rash over the nose and cheeks, and an immune deficiency. Approximately one in every 900 individuals born with Bloom Syndrome only have one of the mutated BLM genes, which means that they produce only half of the normal amount of BLM protein and thereby increasing their risk of developing various forms of cancer.

The research in this study followed a previous discovery by the team’s lead researcher which showed that mutations to the BAP1 gene could lead to an increased susceptibility to developing cancer. Furthering the research into the BLM mutation, the National Institutes of Health has awarded the research team a grant in order to study a population in Nevada at risk of exposure to asbestos and other harmful mineral fibers.

Exposure to asbestos is directly linked to developing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the lungs and heart, as well as the abdominal cavity. Because of the 20-to-50-year latency period of the disease, patients are often left with diminished treatment options to treat mesothelioma and prolong their survival. While researchers across the globe continue to make progress in new treatments to fight mesothelioma, there is no definitive cure for the cancer.

Asbestos was once commonly used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications for its heat resistant properties and ability to be molded to fit a variety of situations, particularly in insulation and gaskets. Unfortunately, companies working with asbestos knew for decades about the health risks associated with breathing in the mineral’s fibers but chose not to provide any warning to innocent bystanders who could come in contact with it. Although nothing can undo the harm caused by a mesothelioma diagnosis, the law gives victims and surviving family members to file claims against companies that acted with negligence.

Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you or a loved one was 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.


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