Researchers at the University of Michigan are developing a pill that could help to diagnose asbestos-related mesothelioma.

So far, the pill has only been tested on mice with breast cancer tumours but the results have been promising. It is hoped that after it has been developed, the pill will be able to  assist with diagnosing other cancers, including mesothelioma.

How does the pill work?

The pill forms part of a new molecular imaging system. The system uses a failed cancer treatment along with an infrared dye. Whilst the cancer treatment did not kill cancer cells in clinical trials, it was successful in transporting a treatment agent through the bloodstream. The treatment diverts the dye so that it targets molecules on cancer cells. Using infrared light which is able to penetrate tissue, the dye then ‘lights up’ the tumours so that they are visible.

A safer way to diagnose mesothelioma

This is a breakthrough for cancer diagnosis. Currently most diagnostic methods use ionizing radiation which poses a potential risk to patients.

Greg Thurber, assistant professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan was positive about the results. He said, “This approach should be adaptable to other molecular targets and diseases for use as a new class of screening agents.”

How can we help?

If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma compensation claim 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.


Bhatnagar, S, et al, “Oral Administration and Detection of a Near-Infrared Molecular Imaging Agent in an Orthotopic Mouse Model for Breast Cancer Screening”, April 26, 2018, Molecular Pharmaceutics

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