Researchers Discover Asbestos As a Cancer Causing Agent

mineral-asbestosA new study has found that naturally occurring mineral asbestos causes cancer in humans. The study is funded by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and the National Cancer Institute.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer almost entirely activated by asbestos exposure. The exact way of how mesothelioma grows has eluded researchers and doctors for decades.

Mesothelioma has a rigorous latency period in terms of the development of symptoms, similar to other diseases related to asbestos.

Most of patients, who suffer from mesothelioma, will not experience any symptom, until at least 20 years have passed since the time they were first exposed to asbestos.

With the help of this study, researchers have found that asbestos fibers, which are responsible for killing cells, causes cancer as a dead cell should not be able to develop into a tumor.

By the process of cell necrosis, asbestos kills cells. Cell necrosis is responsible for releasing a molecule called high-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1). The presence of HMGB1 starts an inflammatory reaction, which causes tumor growth.

Researchers found that patients exposed to asbestos have high levels of HMGB1 in their serum. So researchers now believe that for treating patients with malignant mesothelioma, they can make HMGB1 their first target.