Molecular characterisation and diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma [ 2005 - 2007 ]

Also known as: Molecular analysis of malignant mesothelioma

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Dr Andrew Holloway (Principal investigator) ,  Prof Bruce Robinson Prof Richard Lake

Brief description Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive, asbestos-related tumour of increasing incidence throughout the world that is estimated to be cause approximately 20,000 deaths per annum . MM was rare until approximately 20-30 years ago but it is now more, or as, common a cause of death in Australia as cancers of the bone, liver, cervix, bladder and ovary. Although asbestos use has declined to virtually zero across most of the developed world, due to 30 to 40 year latency of the disease, the peak in cases of mesothelioma is not expected until 2010. MM is one of the most aggressive and debilitating tumours known, with a median survival of 7-10 months and a clinical pattern that usually involves substantial pain and dyspnea. Advances in therapy-prevention of mesothelioma will have not only have a major health impact, but potentially an extraordinary economic impact. MM is predicted to cost the Australian economy around $5 billion in compensation over the next 35-40 years. Government, insurance companies and industry will share that cost. The significance of this disease therefore extends beyond its actual incidence. There is growing evidence in many tumour types that the best diagnostics and treatments for cancer will come about as a result of understanding the molecular logic that underpins carcinogenesis, and designing therapies and diagnostics accordingly. We will carry out a project using the most comprehensive microarrays available to profile gene expression in malignant mesothelioma. We will use the expression data we obtain to fulfil three aims. Firstly, we will use patient outcome information to search for genes whose expression is indicative of response to therapy. Secondly, we will search the data to identify candidate secreted molecules which may be useful in the early detection of MM. Finally, we will develop a molecular assay to unequivocally diagnose MM from cells collected from pleural effusions.

Funding Amount $AUD 421,250.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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