Mesothelioma research at University of Hawaii to receive more than $3M in grants from DOD

20 Apr 2016 by under Research/Treatment

research test tubes 100x100 Mesothelioma research at University of Hawaii to receive more than $3M in grants from DODThanks to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), more than $3 million in grants were awarded to the Cancer Center and John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) in order to help researchers with finding a cure for the rare and deadly cancer mesothelioma.

The DOD funded the awards as part of the “Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program,” which focuses on aiding those that have made recent strides in cancer research. Unlike many other institutions, the University of Hawaii has been one of the leading researchers in the study of mesothelioma, which has been known to inflict a disproportionate amount of veterans as opposed to other groups of people.

“We’re grateful that all the work we’ve put into research in the past is being recognized and appreciated,” Dr. Michele Carbone, director of thoracic oncology at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, said. “Our track record is good.”

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to a carcinogen known as asbestos. Unfortunately for sufferers of this cruel disease, the cancer may remain latent in those exposed for 30 to 40 years, but can eventually spread to the smooth lining of the chest, lungs, heart, or abdomen. Roughly 2,500 cases of this type of mesothelioma are identified annually in the U.S.

Mesothelioma research is a daunting topic for many scientists, but Carbone has proven himself to be a world leader in the subject for decades. As the former director of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Carbone’s studies were able to uncover the first details of the gene mutation in 2011, which is still the only gene mutation proven to have a direct link to mesothelioma. By identifying the mutated gene in individuals regularly exposed to asbestos, doctors would be able to begin cancer treatment early and improve their success rate of fighting the disease.

“The remarkable success of our Cancer Center and JABSOM researchers in obtaining these awards illustrates the role of the University of Hawai’i as leaders in mesothelioma research,” said David Lassner, president of the University of Hawai’i. “This demonstrates our ability to reduce the burden of cancer locally, nationally and internationally.”

Prior to Carbone’s genetic discovery in 2011, the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program had only funded six previous mesothelioma studies in its lifetime.

University of Hawaii
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