Legal matters and healthcare go hand in hand, especially in regards to a progressive disease such as cancer.
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is one such cancer that is routinely discussed for its legal ramifications since it has been associated with asbestos exposure.
Last year, an important legal publication was made regarding links of cancers like mesothelioma and how proof of causation in lawsuits is important for the victim to get compensated for their treatment.
The aim is to bring the latest scientific developments against mesothelioma to foreground and discuss their efficacy as a legal tool in compensation cases.
Genome Wide Association Studies and Malignant Mesothelioma Cancer
The technology that helps researchers sequence the DNA inside our bodies has become quite affordable in recent years. This has led to genome wide association studies (GWAS) in which a large segment of the affected population is screened.
For instance, a GWAS study conducted to study breast cancer was able to point out the genes that are responsible for aggravating the disease. The context of the study indicates the expression of the gene profile can be regulated to reduce the impact of the cancer.
This research makes the decision of hiring asbestos attorneys easier since objective proof can be provided in the form of gene profile reports. Some law firms are part of the ‘Protecting what’s right’ movement, which holds individuals and entities responsible for exposure to asbestos and takes legal action against them. This was the legal aspect that was pointed out earlier: linking asbestos exposure to the cancer is important, since the negligent party can then be held accountable.
GWAS has been successfully applied in a number of cancers and made newer methods of prognosis and treatment possible. For instance, a hallmark study was conducted last year on more than 1600 individuals. One of the major findings of the study was that three genes have been identified that have not been previously related to mesothelioma.
These three genes (CRTAM, SDK1 and RASGRF2) are important discoveries because they objectively link the development of mesothelioma with asbestos exposure. The protein product of these genes is linked with important processes such as cell adhesion and cell migration. These genes are involved in susceptible behavior when the human body cells are exposed to asbestos.
Genes Identified for Mesothelioma
It is quite possible for people working in susceptible environments to get these genes screened and their expression profile determined. Abnormal expression would indicate the possibility of malignancy. This would lead to an unprecedented early detection, and improve the therapy efficiency.
GWAS is already helping the fight against mesothelioma as researchers are now using genetic pathways to develop new drugs that can selectively inhibit tumor causing cells in the human body.
Based on this profile, two significant studies were published last month that are being described as a potential ‘magic bullet’ against mesothelioma. The premise behind the drug is simple: if the gene susceptibility is known, the damage can be limited.
GWAS is an exciting avenue of research within the oncology domain. It not only has important scientific implication but also penetrates the legality involved within healthcare. The general population should use such tools to get screened early for potential cancer susceptibility.
Photo Credit By: asbestos-disease.com.au