Im­mune re­sponse fo­cus of can­cer trial

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Streetwatch - By KRISTIE LIM

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.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d470186

Dr Sally Lans­ley is hop­ing to im­prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of treat­ments for mesothe­lioma.

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