Technology is constantly progressing and its advances can be beneficial to many sectors, including the healthcare industry.
The treatment of cancers, including mesothelioma, rely on technology to constantly evolve in order to develop new, more effective treatments.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting have assisted in helping early diagnosis and targeted treatment for patients with mesothelioma.
The field of AI is vast and has made huge strides in recent years. One branch of AI is machine learning, this can be used to detect tumours and allow doctors to observe tumours at their early stages.
A study five years ago in Turkey used an artificial immune system to diagnose pleural mesothelioma patients. They found that the artificial system was extremely good with 97.74% accuracy.
Early detection and diagnosis are of utmost importance for mesothelioma patients. It is often not until the cancer has significantly progressed that patients start to suffer with symptoms and by this point treatment options may be limited. Therefore, the earlier the diagnosis, the more treatment options are available and so the better the survival rate will be.
Within the next few years the treatment of mesothelioma may be completely overhauled thanks to 3D printing. 3D bioprinting uses biomaterials such as cells and growth factors and combines them to create structures that imitate natural tissues. Through this method researchers have already been able to produce function organs. So far, these have not yet been transplantable but the hope is that in the future new organs could be created and transplanted, giving a mesothelioma patient a new set of lungs, heart or abdomen.
In bioprinting, the organs can be developed using the patient’s own cells and so there would be no risk of the organs being rejected by the body and would potentially prevent the patient from having to take medication every day for the rest of their lives.
This would be a huge development for the treatment of mesothelioma and could provide treatment options even to those diagnosed when the cancer has progressed significantly.
Hope for the future
Unfortunately, it will be some time before printing organs will be a reality, however researchers are getting closer all the time. In May 2019 scientists were able to produce a ‘lung-mimicking air sac’ that was able to ‘breathe’ without bursting.
It seems the main obstacle where lungs are concerned is the complex nature of the organs and the vascular networks needed.
We look forward to hearing that further advancements have been made in this area for mesothelioma patients so that more treatment options can be available.
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