Tag Archives: lung

Mesothelioma: Are YOU at risk?

Bad newsMesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and abdomen (the mesothelium). The mesothelium is important because the lungs, heart and stomach are constantly in motion, and the cells in the mesothelium provide lubrication and assist in organ function. There is no cure, and the relative 5-year survival rate is between 5% and 10%. But how does one develop mesothelioma- and are YOU at risk?

Mesothelioma is mainly caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos occurs naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers. Small, individual fibers are too small to be seen with the naked eye, and if they’re breathed in, a buildup of fibers can cause plenty of lung problems- including mesothelioma.

Because of its durability and resistance to heat and chemicals, asbestos was commonly used in many different industries for years. However, in the later 1900s, asbestos-related cancers became better understood. Laboratory studies with rodents have confirmed the link between asbestos exposure and cancer.

Since the mid 1970s, its use has been significantly decreased, but asbestos exposure is still a concern when working with older building materials. The World Trade Center, for example, was built at a time when asbestos was very common in building materials. It’s estimated that 400 tons of asbestos were used in its construction, and when the buildings collapsed, the EPA reports that asbestos was “pulverized” into fine particles and scattered over Lower Manhattan. In 2006, researchers estimated that almost 70% of recovery personnel had suffered from lung problems, and it’s expected that in the years to come, more first responders and workers that assisted in the cleanup will be diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Awareness is key. The use of asbestos is regulated by OSHA and the EPA, and anyone who believes they may come in contact with asbestos in their workplace can contact OSHA for more information on regulations and safe practices. In the meanwhile, researchers continue to look for answers. Animal research has helped lead to two approved chemotherapy medications for mesothelioma, and researchers are continuing to work on gene therapies, new ways to target cancer cells, and more efficient methods to deliver radiation.

To find out more about this disease, visit the pages listed below and follow the links in this article. To spread awareness, you can start by sharing this article on social media. We’d love to hear your thoughts- has this disease touched you or your family? What do YOU want people to know about mesothelioma? Leave your comments below.

http://www.mesothelioma.com/

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/index

Hope for preemies- amazing new lung research!

kate evelyn pontiusPremature babies often have lasting lung problems, but hopefully that won’t always be the case. Researchers are working on bigger and better treatments- and there’s some good news!

Currently, mothers of premature babies often receive steroid injections before delivery to help the baby’s lungs develop. After the baby’s birth, surfactant can also be administered to coat the lungs and facilitate oxygen exchange. And while these treatments have saved the lives of many babies and are incredible medical advances, researchers are working on bigger and better ideas.

By using stems cells and regenerative medicine, researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario are developing techniques that could safely repair damaged lungs of premature infants! They’re using stem cells that make blood vessels, and in addition to providing hope to parents of preemies, this could also potentially help in the treatment of chronic lung diseases in adults. Research in animals has shown promising results, and clinical trials could start in just a few years. Read more about it here:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Ottawa+pediatrician+research+could+transform+outlook+premature+babies/9738332/story.html

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend… but GOLD could help YOUR best friend!

Best BuddiesVeterinarians are investigating a gold-based drug as a treatment for dogs with osteosarcoma. About 80% of canine bone cancers are osteosarcomas, and generally the treatment involves limb amputation. Unfortunately, these cancer cells can spread to the lungs, so vets are looking at treatments that can help increase the survival rate of dogs with this disease.

Gold has been used in human medicine for autoimmune disorders because of its anti-inflammatory properties. This drug- aurothiomalate- has been used in humans in the past, and it has been successful in reducing cancer spread to the lungs. Researchers will start with cell cultures and mouse studies to determine this drug’s effectiveness for bone cancer.

It’s common that diseases in humans and animals are similar, and it would be great if this treatment proves to be successful in dogs AND humans! Read more about it here:

http://news.ufl.edu/2014/03/25/gold-salts/

Don’t look now- but organ transplants are about to be REVOLUTIONIZED!

iStock_000021023060SmallOn average, a heart or a lung kept on ice will only last about 6 hours outside of the body. The organs suffer some damage during this time, so the chances of transplant success decrease as time passes. This severely limits the ability for a recipient to be able to receive donor organs- a team needs to be able to deliver the organ to the recipient’s location in a relatively short period of time, so it’s impossible for a patient in New York to receive a heart from a donor in Hawaii. And unfortunately, desperately needed donor organs are sometimes wasted because there are no potential recipients within range to accept them. 

But that may be about to change. Meet TransMedics’s Organ Care System. This amazing machine can pump oxygenated blood through hearts, lungs, livers and kidneys- AND monitor their performance! This could potentially increase the window of opportunity for recipients by keeping organs viable for longer periods of time, and improve patient outcomes by giving doctors a better idea of the chances of success for the transplanted organ!

Thanks to animal-based research that started over 100 years ago, the success of long-term tissue grafts and the ability to minimize organ rejection has saved many lives. The limitation was ice; and if study results are positive, the Organ Care System could revolutionize organ transplants!

Watch these videos of a lung and a heart in the machine- it’s amazing!

Third-hand smoke just as dangerous as actually smoking?

Smoking killsFirst-hand smoke exposure is the smoke inhaled by the actual smoker, and second-hand smoke exposure is when others inhale the exhaled smoke. But according to new research, third-hand smoke exposure could be just as dangerous as first- and second-hand smoke.

Third-hand smoke exposure is exposure to surfaces that have been contaminated with second-hand smoke. When a smoker moves out of a house, surfaces and dust can remain contaminated. As time goes on, nicotine is re-emitted from the contamination, and nicotine exposure can approach the levels of first-hand smoking.

Mice exposed to third-hand smoke were hyperactive, experienced significant lung and liver damage, and their wound healing abilities were reduced. In addition to these findings, it was found that third-hand smoke exposure can lead to type II diabetes!

What does this mean for you? Well, it might be more important than you think to choose a hotel that prohibits smoking and pay more attention to the smoking habits of previous owners of your new homes and automobiles. While a lingering odor of smoke might dissipate over time, the lasting effects may not. If you’re still smoking, here’s another great reason to consider the effects you may be having on your kids, your friends’ kids, and those who will be here long after you are.

http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/20236