Over the years, scientists seeking a cure for malignant mesothelioma have turned to a wide array of unusual sources. Many of their efforts have proven to be wild goose chases, and even more are still being studied. One of the most unusual sources of a potential treatment has recently been described by Japanese researchers in an article in the online medical journal PLoS One. The scientists, hailing from the Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University in Sendai, have determined that a protein called cSBL (Sialic acid-binding lectin) derived from the eggs of bullfrogs may cause mesothelioma cell death and provide patients diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease with an effective new form of treatment.
The current standard protocol for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma is a combination of drug called pemetrexed (Alimta) that is usually combined with another form of chemotherapy called cisplatin. Though this regimen provides patients with extended survival, it also comes with significant adverse side effects that make it less than ideal. The scientists first analyzed the impact of the bullfrog protein on mesothelioma cells in test tubes and found that they caused cell death. They then moved to inoculating laboratory animals with human mesothelioma cells and testing a variety of treatments on them, and found that the cSBL was one of the most effective treatments – but with no adverse effect. The most effective treatment of all was the combination of cSBL with pemetrexed, as it accomplished cell death while minimizing the negative impact of the more traditional medication.
The discovery that cSBL has such a powerful effect on the ability of mesothelioma cells to survive and spread is a big victory in the battle against this rare and fatal form of cancer. As scientists continue to work towards finding a cure, those who have been diagnosed with this asbestos-related disease are on their own journey, trying to find justice from those who are responsible for exposing them to a known carcinogen. For information on how we can help, contact us at 1-800-966-2244.