“Our collaboration represents the first attempt to focus on heparanase as a major risk factor in mesothelioma and a valid target for the development of heparanase-inhibiting drugs.” —Israel Vlodavsky, PhD, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
A collaborative research effort between the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and NYU Langone Health has demonstrated that inhibition of the heparanase enzyme successfully inhibited the progression of mesothelioma in mouse models and extended their survival. The findings of this study were recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the mesothelium—the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. This cancer is most often always attributed to asbestos exposure and is extremely difficult to treat as it has proven to be resistant to most therapeutic treatment options currently on the market. Thus, patients with mesothelioma often have a poor prognosis offering a limited life expectancy once diagnosed.
Under the direction of Technion’s Professor Israel Vlodavsky, the world’s foremost expert in the study of the heparanase enzyme, and NYU Langone’s Professor Harvey Pass, a noted mesothelioma investigator and expert in the United States, this study found that the heparanase enzyme is used by mesothelioma cancer cells to create an aggressive cyclic relationship in which blood vessels feed the tumor and growth-promoting proteins accelerate tumor development. The study’s researchers were able to successfully inhibit tumor growth and extend survival of the treated mice by disrupting this cycle with the use heparanase inhibitors. Heparanase inhibitors were shown to be more effective than conventional chemotherapy treatments currently used by physicians to treat mesothelioma.
The heparanase enzyme as a target for mesothelioma cancer therapy has been proven by this animal study to be worthy of investigation as a new therapeutic option for the treatment of mesothelioma. A clinical trial will soon be underway to examine its potential, bringing hope to mesothelioma patients worldwide.Sources
Bioscience Technology Online. Mesothelioma Successfully Curbed in Test Animals. May 31, 2018.
Newswise. NYU Langone's Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Launch Global Research Initiative: Melanoma, Mesothelioma Are the Focus of First Joint Studies. April 21, 2016.