Research carried out by a team at the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands on ten people with malignant mesothelioma has shown that a vaccine may aid victims of the disease. In simple terms, the researchers created a specific vaccine for each patient by exposing the patient's own dendritic cells (a type of immune cell) with antigen from the patient's own tumour. The resulting vaccine produced a significant increase in the patient's antibodies. The research is due to be published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine although the article can be accessed on its website now.
Mesothelioma is a type of asbestos-related lung disease. Although it can take 50 years to develop following asbestos exposure, the disease usually kills its victim within 12 to 18 months of diagnosis. There is no known cure.