Mesothelioma UK and Erase Meso award grant for new research into novel drug target for mesothelioma patients

Mesothelioma UK and Erase Meso, two national asbestos-related cancer charities, have agreed to support a six-month research project to the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences.

The project is a collaboration between Professor Mathew Coleman at the University of Birmingham and Professors Marion MacFarlane and Anne Willis OBE at the MRC (Medical Research Council) Toxicology Unit at the University of Cambridge, Professor John Le Quesne (CRUK Beatson Institute, Glasgow) and Professor Christopher Schofield (University of Oxford).

The project is funded by Erase Meso with a financial grant of £37,973 and is aimed at leveraging a new class of cancer target for the benefit of mesothelioma (asbestos-related cancer) diagnosis and treatment. The project will analyse the enzyme MDIG (Mineral Dust Induced Gene) that is known to be altered in the lungs of those in contact with mineral dust like silica. Professor Coleman’s research group have discovered that MDIG is over-represented in mesothelioma cells. By reducing the level of MDIG activity to normal levels, researchers will investigate whether this reduces the growth and survival of mesothelioma cells.

Mathew Coleman, Professor in Tumour Cell Biology at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham commented: “Although new and exciting treatments are currently being explored in the field of mesothelioma, the reduction of MDIG activity in cells isn’t one that has been considered for mesothelioma before.

“We are delighted that Mesothelioma UK and Erase Meso are supporting this vital research project that will focus on the testing and validation of a new drug target for mesothelioma patients.”

Paul Cook, Chairman of Erase Meso said: “Erase Meso was set up to work with the mesothelioma community to share knowledge by funding important scientific research. By collaborating with Mesothelioma UK, who supported with extensive grant review expertise, we established that Professor Coleman’s project met the criteria for ground-breaking research, and we wish him and his team every success in their studies.”

Liz Darlison, Chief Executive of Mesothelioma UK added: “The financial support provided by Erase Meso has enabled us to give the green light to this key research study with expert teams from the universities of Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow and Oxford. We believe that this is a unique perspective and will await the findings of the project with great interest.”

Published: 18 May 2023

May 18, 2023

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