Mesothelioma cells grow quite resistant to treatment. Therapies like chemotherapy and radiation therapy inhibit the cancer for a few months before their effectiveness dissipates.

Researchers at the University of Texas and the Dana‑Farber Cancer Institute (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) are taking extra steps to monitor individual cancer cells and track their unique resistance to treatment. The hope is they uncover something that helps develop a therapy or an approach to treatment to sidestep the resistance.

The experts explained the issue: Cancer cells are heterogeneous. This means the cells are unique.

“Like human families, the individual cells of a tumor share some common traits and characteristics, but as the tumor expands, the cells also develop their own identities,” they wrote.

The result is some cancer cells are more adaptable, which means they can evolve once they interact with a treatment therapy. This evolution usually involves resistance to whatever cell‑killing feature the therapy employs.

The researchers at the University of Austin the Dana‑Farber Cancer Institute studied chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) tumors, although their work could apply to mesothelioma and other resistant cancers. They tag tumor cells during their pre‑resistant phase and follow them through the evolutionary process.

The ClonMapper, the technology used for tagging and tracking, shows the before‑and‑after difference for doctors. This lets the medical community know which cancer cells survive and which ones don’t.

“By isolating these cells, researchers can better test which treatments do and don’t work against them,” the researchers wrote.

This type of research is invaluable to the mesothelioma medical community. This is a fast‑spreading cancer with short survival times. Additionally, there are few treatment options and most only work temporarily due to cell resistance.

More knowledge about the tumor microenvironment can only help improve therapy for mesothelioma. This type of cell tracking is another step in the right direction for cancer treatment as a whole.

    Sources & Author

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About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

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