Over the years our sponsor, Kazan Law, has built philanthropic relationships with mesothelioma clients to help fund mesothelioma research and new mesothelioma technology. One such example is mesothelioma victim Gordon Bankhead and his wife, Emily, who wanted to give back and do more for future generations of asbestos victims.
As a result of Kazan Law’s supportive relationship with UCSF’s Thoracic Oncology Program, the Bankhead family generously donated $100,000 from their jury verdict award towards the purchase of a $750,000 machine that utilizes innovative new technology for mesothelioma research. We see these kinds of philanthropic partnerships as essential to laying the foundation for groundbreaking methods of discovery, which will be critical in helping to discover a cure for mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Technology and Research Partnership: UCSF and Life Technologies Inc.
This donation led to the inauguration of a major collaboration between global biotechnology company Life Technologies Inc. and the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory at the University of California in San Francisco. UCSF’s Thoracic Oncology Program, founded in 1995 by thoracic surgeon David M. Jablons, MD and thoracic oncologist Thierry Jahan, MD, has been a global leader at the forefront of groundbreaking laboratory research, innovative clinical trials, and compassionate, expert care for patients with mesothelioma and other thoracic malignancies.
What is the New Mesothelioma Technology and how has it Been Used?
Life Technologies calls their innovation 5500 Series SOLiD™ Sequencers, a machine which drills down on the molecular underpinnings on mesothelioma, lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies.
In one study, UCSF’s Thoracic Oncology Program collected tissue samples from more than 160 patients with mesothelioma. These snap-frozen specimens are matched samples. This means each individual donated both healthy lung tissue and cells afflicted with malignant mesothelioma. Unlike other global research studies relying on inflexible therapeutic experimentation, the UCSF group utilized the 5500 SOLiD Sequencer to develop treatments that are tailored to a mesothelioma patient’s specific genetic tumor line.
In order to develop new treatments, the UCSF research team has utilized the device to sequence the full genetic makeup of mesothelioma cell lines. They then compare the resulting data to normal cell samples. This comparison provides researchers the chance to locate previously undiscovered genetic mutations, potentially leading to unique patient-specific treatments for the deadly disease.
A real bonus is the speed in which the device can return information to researchers. The ability to fully sequence malignant lung cell genomes and analyze gene expression in mesothelioma tissue can often occur in as little as 24 hours.
Why is Mesothelioma Research So Critical Today?
Today, mesothelioma remains a universally life-threatening disease. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Most alarming is the fact that the vast majority of cases can be attributed to asbestos exposure even if contact with the mineral was relatively brief. Annually, approximately 10,000 U.S. deaths can be attributed to asbestosis, mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions, according to the Environmental Working Group.
With an expected growth in mesothelioma cases in the coming decades, there continues to be a massive need for mesothelioma research and new funding for researchers.