Posts Tagged ‘mesothelioma’

Mineral in Road Gravel May Cause Mesothelioma, A Type of Lung Cancer

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011


A new study reported in the July 25, 2011 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science concluded that those who travel down gravel roads may be exposed to erionite in the gravel from the resultant dust and if breathed daily are at increased risk of developing mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. Erionite, a natural mineral, has fibers that are physically similar to asbestos.

Researchers compared erionite in a setting in the United States with Turkish villages where there are high rates of mesothelioma. The airborne concentrations of erionite, the chemical composition, and biological activity were measured. In mice studies, when injected with the mineral from the United States, inflammation and abnormal cell growth resulted and are precursors to mesothelioma. Analysis showed no difference in chemical composition or fiber size between the samples from North Dakota and the Turkish towns and the airborne levels were comparable. Based upon these results “there is concern for increased risk of mesothelioma in North Dakota” according to the researcher. He further commented that because of the long latency period between exposure to eriotite and contracting the disease and the relative recent history of mining erionite he anticipated an increase in this disease in the future. .

The Mechanisms of Asbestos Causing Lung Cancer

Friday, July 9th, 2010


A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science explained why asbestos causes cancer. The researchers looked at the paradox of how asbestos fibers that kill cells can cause cancer when dead cells should not grow to form tumors. Findings show that when asbestos kills cells, it induces a process called ‘programmed cell necrosis” releasing a molecule called high-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1). This starts an inflammatory process causing the release of mutagens and factors that promote tumor growth.
The researchers found that patients exposed to asbestos had elevated levels of HMGB1 in their blood. Thus, it may be possible to identify those with asbestos by simple HMGB1 blood tests and targeting these individuals for prevention and treatment.
The researchers are interesting in determining whether interfering with the inflammatory reaction caused by asbestos and HMGB1 can decrease the cancer incidence of cohorts exposed to asbestos. They also wonder if taking an aspirin or similar drug that stops inflammation will prevent mesothelioma. More research is planned to test this hypothesis.