A recent study, funded by the British Lung Foundation, has seen a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the University of Leeds which may have discovered a new treatment for the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma affects the linings of the body’s organs, most commonly the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) or the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma). It is a very difficult cancer to treat and so far, no cure has been found. Thanks to advances in research, more effective treatments continue to be found but more work is needed to try and find a cure for this dreadful disease.

Nanotubes absorb lightwaves

Researchers have been working with gold nanotubes. These are tiny hollow cylinders, just one thousandth the width of a single strand of human hair. They have been able to tune these nanotubes so that they can dictate the composition, microstructure and the ability to absorb certain light wavelengths.

As part of the study, scientists added nanotubes to mesothelioma cells in a lab setting and found that the nanotubes were absorbed. When the cells were then targeted with a laser, the nanotubes absorbed the lightwaves, heated up and killed the mesothelioma cell.

Step towards targeted treatment

This is a huge discovery and could pave the way for a new mesothelioma treatment. The next step is to ensure the nanotubes target only cancer cells, to lessen the damage of healthy tissue. There could also be ways to harness the nanotubes as a medication delivery system, to allow treatment to be delivered directly to the cancer cells.

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.



Victor Dahdaleh Foundation, National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Royal Papworth Hospital, Alpha1-Foundation, Medical Research Council and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council.

Share Button