Mesothelioma’s curse has historically been that there is no early detection method. Several new forms of detection, however, have moved into stage II clinical trials. Hope extends itself to the hopeless. Recently the University of Hawaii has staked a new claim: skin spots may be an early signal of undetected mesothelioma.
According to their research specific shapes/colors of sunspots resembling moles can indicate whether a person has a proclivity for mesothelioma. Hawaiian researchers pose the theory that skin spots may indicate early on whether people have what is called “BAP1″ gene mutation. The BAP1 gene is believed to suppress tumors and hold cancer at bay. A person whose gene has mutated negatively hinders the body’s capacity to function properly and destroy developing cancer tissue.
The University of Hawaii study observed 118 people. Sixty-three of the subjects possessed the negative cancer gene mutation and 55 possessed the positive cancer-suppressing gene. The study revealed that subjects with mutated genes had a much higher predisposition to developing certain types of skin spots and subsequently being diagnosed with mesothelioma than the subjects whose genes were not mutated. After monitoring the experiment over time these researchers believe that particular skin spots could be the first visible signs of BAP1 gene mutated cancer syndrome.
The experiment’s leader said, “Identifying this gene as a cause of several cancers can tell us who is at risk in a family before the cancer develops.”
Gene mutation screening could soon become an exciting link in the mystery of defining those in danger of developing mesothelioma. Women with a family history of breast cancer are fully able to test for gene mutations so it stands to reason that those with a history of asbestos exposure could also benefit.
Testing for early exposure of mesothelioma could change the game: medical researchers could at last accurately treat mesothelioma patients before the disease develops to an untreatable state. Early detection would allow patients to benefit from a broader array of treatment choices than those who have no more choices than to endure. Studies like the University of Hawaii ‘s BAP1 gene are what we call groundbreaking.