The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for mesothelioma and providing support for patients and families, announced that five research projects were the recipients of the 2015 Grant Funding Cycle for Mesothelioma Research. To date, this initiative has provided support totaling over $9.4 million to 99 mesothelioma research projects.
The recent winning projects cover a range of approaches for better diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma, including genetics, biomarkers, and drug testing. Winners are determined through a rigorous peer-review system, in which the Mesothelioma Foundation’s Science Advisory Board examines and evaluates the submitted projects. The Foundation’s Board of Directors then determines the grant amount.
The five projects are led by Dr. Andrea McClatchey of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; Dr. El Bachir Affar from the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont in Montréal, Canada; Dr. Sean Carlin of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York; Dr. Jill Ohar of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Dr. Carlo Follo from the University of California, San Francisco.
The research project led by Dr. McClatchey, in particular, will focus on the role of NF2 tumor suppressor, a gene that has been the subject of extensive research and is found to be mutated or inactivated in more than half of all mesothelioma tissues. “The goal of our proposal was to take these 20 years of knowledge that we’ve been accumulating and continue to focus on it, and bring it to the mesothelioma problem,” Dr. McClatchey said in a press release. She will investigate the differences between mesotheliomas that have a mutated or inactivated NF2 gene, and those in which the tumor suppressor gene is normal.
Dr. Carlin’s research project will focus on the testing of new drugs to identify and treat mesothelioma, knowledge that could advance the drugs’ development in clinical trials. “The drugs are designed to attach to a protein which is found at higher levels in mesothelioma than in normal lung tissue. We will test how effective these drugs are at both detecting and treating mesothelioma, and also obtain some estimates on potential unwanted effects,” Dr. Carlin said.
More information about each of these winning projects is available by clicking on this link.