Mesothelioma research is to benefit from the ‘LIBOR’ fines levied by the Government on banks for rigging the foreign exchange market and interest rates. Chancellor George Osborne has pledged £5m to London’s Imperial College to lay the foundations for a national collaboration for research in mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases.
Imperial College has a high level of expertise in occupational cancers, of which mesothelioma is the commonest. Professors Bill Cookson, Miriam Moffatt and Anne Bowcock will initiate work to identify genes associated with the development and progression of mesothelioma. Recent research in cancer genetics has shown that the same genetic mutations are found in different types of cancer. Studying the genetic profile of mesothelioma will help to speed up and improve the accuracy of diagnosis, and pave the way for clinical trials of new treatments targeting specific markers in the tumour cells.
Professor Cookson said, “I’m really pleased that we will be joining the wide range of clinical and research activities that are already at work on mesothelioma in the UK. I hope that in addition to our own program we can support the establishment of a National Mesothelioma Research Network that brings together all parties who have the interest of treating this terrible illness.”
Fund chair Kimberley Stubbs said, “This is an exciting development in mesothelioma research and the JHMRF wishes Imperial College every success. Patients with mesothelioma need more effective treatments as soon as possible.”