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Glasgow to lead new Mesothelioma international research network

Friday, February 28, 2020

New funding from Cancer Research UK (£5 million) will allow NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s mesothelioma research team to work with patients to develop new treatments and earlier diagnosis for the disease. The work is done in partnership with the University of Glasgow.

The main cause of mesothelioma is inhaling asbestos and usually appears decades later. Often the diagnosis is fatal, with most patients dying within a year.

Glasgow has the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world due to the previous widespread use of asbestos in the area, notably in the shipbuilding industry.

PREDICT-Meso is a new initiative that brings together research groups in the UK, Spain and Italy, led by Professor Kevin Blyth in Glasgow, to find better ways to tackle this challenging cancer.  The funding covers five years.

There are currently few effective treatments and patients often experience difficult symptoms.

PREDICT-Meso aims to understand the progression of asbestos-driven chronic inflammation to cancer in order to diagnosis patients earlier.

The funding will asbestos-driven chronic inflammation evolves into MPM, identifying the key molecular events allow the project team to collect patient samples and build datasets that will be analysed through the use of artificial intelligence and advanced imaging techniques. This will also help develop targeted treatment to improve patients’ quality of life.

Professor Blyth’s team already coordinate the care of all Scottish patients with mesothelioma which total about 200 people every year.

Professor Kevin Blyth, Consultant Respiratory Physician at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, said: “We’re proud to have received the Accelerator Award and funding from Cancer Research UK.

“We are well-placed in Glasgow to lead this new research network. With the help of patients in Scotland and across Europe, and our international colleagues, we hope to radically improve the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. We’ll be using artificial intelligence and advanced laboratory and imaging techniques to help us get there.”

Cancer Research UK’s Accelerator Award enables translational research by funding cross-institutional teams to produce tools, platforms and resources which will transform the research landscape.

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