Immune response focus of cancer trial
NEDLANDS-BASED researcher Sally Lansley is aiming to tackle high diagnosis rates of mesothelioma in WA through a 10-year research project into more effective treatment for patients.
Mesothelioma is a cancer typically caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres, which results in cancer cells forming in the lining of the chest or abdomen.
The Nedlands-based Institute of Respiratory Health senior research officer won a Cancer Council WA project grant worth $81,000, which will be put towards her and mentor Gary Lee’s clinical trial.
The project aims to make treatment more effective for patients through improving their immune response to a particular type of drug.
Dr Lansley said mesothelioma was a “universally fatal” cancer.
“In WA, the major problem is with mining and exportation of crocidolite, the worst kind of asbestos,” she said.
“Originally, it was occupational derived, but now with more people doing DIYS, it is becoming a bit more of a problem.
“There have been some similar trials in other cancers using this similar drug, but we were the first to do it in WA.”
Dr Lansley said her lab and clinic teams found an overexpressed gene called FGF9 and the malignant mesothelioma tumours did not grow, so they decided to look at the immune response to the treatment.
“We are looking at novel therapeutics for mesothelioma in our group, which is very translational, meaning the ability to translate what we see in the lab to a clinical setting and vice versa,” she said.
“We have a current clinical trial for the receptive inhibitor on its own, but down the line, it depends what molecules we find; we want to have a clinical trial with our combination therapy.”
Australia has one of the highest incidence rates of mesothelioma in the world, with about three per cent of men and 12 per cent of women living five years after diagnosis.
Dr Sally Lansley is hoping to improve the effectiveness of treatments for mesothelioma.