National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases

Clinical and Pre-Clinical Trial Research for Mesothelioma Therapies

Further Information

  • All current grants
  • All previous grants

Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive cancer that is increasing in incidence worldwide due to widespread exposure to its main aetiological agent, asbestos.

WA Dept of Health G06377

A history of asbestos mining and manufacturing has resulted in Western Australia having the highest rate of mesothelioma on both a national and global scale.

Currently, patients receive chemotherapy and/or debulking surgery; however median survival is just nine months from diagnosis. This highlights the need for a better understanding of the biology of this disease and for the improvement and development of better therapies.

In recent years our research has focused on investigating the efficacy of novel therapies that specifically activate and boost immune responses against mesothelioma. Our studies, confirmed by other research groups, show that combinations of therapy that include immunotherapy, i.e. treatments aimed at stimulating the body’s immune system to attack the cancer, can improve the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments.

While our recent work has focused on improving therapy for patients with mesothelioma by evaluating how immunotherapy can best be combined with existing therapies (such as surgery and chemotherapy), we have also begun assessing how a new form of immunotherapy called ‘checkpoint blockade’, can be used to specifically target and remove cells that suppress the anti-tumour immune response while simultaneously enhancing cells that promote anti-tumour immunity.

This research spans our bench to bedside philosophy in which we strive to translation our preclinical work laboratory work into novel/improved therapies for patients.

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 1 December, 2015 1:30 PM