Over 30 Billion dollars in trust fund money has been set aside for asbestos victims.
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While asbestos had a number of positive uses, the result of using the substance in such industries as shipbuilding and construction was that the people who worked near it inhaled the fibers asbestos produces. This in turn led to them developing a serious form of cancer known as mesothelioma. With a life expectancy of only nine to 12 months after a diagnosis, and with some patients not surviving past the two-year mark, this cancer has been shown to be very aggressive even in its early stages. Consequently, not much is known on how to prevent it and eliminate its effects before it's too late.
Funding for mesothelioma research has been limited, too, due in part to the relatively low number of cases diagnosed. As a result, scientists have not yet found a cure for this disease. Yet with more and more patients presenting with mesothelioma after 20, 30, or even 50 years from their first exposure, there is a greater need for more research to be conducted.
In Nature Nanotechonology, an examination was conducted regarding the way carbon nanotubes and asbestos fibers interact with human cells. Both materials share a similar structure, most notably the fact that they are long and thin and react the same way with human cells.
Because these materials approach human cells at a specific angle, with their rounded tips leading the way, human cells believe that asbestos particles and nanotubes could potentially contain nutrients, so they react as such. Regarding asbestos fibers, human cells try to ingest them but are unable to do so, as they are too long. Warnings by the cells ingesting the asbestos trigger an immune response, and other cells rush to the site, eventually causing further inflammation and the formation of tumors.
In discovering why human cells are so responsive to asbestos particles, researchers hope to use this knowledge to mimic the form of the cells. That way, treatments can be delivered to affected areas, which would then be taken in by cells in the same way as asbestos. Researchers also want to devise ways to prevent human cells from accepting asbestos or nanotubes in the first place. Ideally, removing the attraction would create immunity to the disease.
Research into asbestos is still a long way from offering a definitive cure or treatment option, but work is being done to both shorten the amount of time it takes to diagnose the disease and to give sufferers a better chance of recovery. If you're interested in learning more about the future of mesothelioma research, or if you'd like to receive information about the top doctors and treatment centers in the country, please fill out the form. We'll send you our free mesothelioma package, which is packed with cutting-edge information, right away.
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