Improving diagnosis and outcome prediction in pleural mesothelioma

Theme Respiratory disease

Workstream Personalised care in pleural disease

Status: This project is ongoing

Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs. This is known as the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma is caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral previously used in building and industrial trades. People are most likely to be exposed to it by breathing in fibres that are suspended in the air.

Standard treatment for pleural mesothelioma involves immunotherapy. Immunotherapy activates a patient’s immune system and helps it fight cancer cells. However, less than half of the patients who receive this type of treatment respond to it and healthcare professionals can’t predict who those patients will be.

Project aims

This project aims to improve how pleural mesothelioma is diagnosed and our ability to make predictions about how it will progress.

To do this we will test blood and other biological materials from patients with the disease.

The tests we will be looking at aren’t currently used for this purpose in clinical practice. We want to explore whether they could be used to predict disease outcomes.

What we hope to achieve

If our work shows that the markers we test can predict survival and disease progression, at least as well as the techniques we use at present, then future studies could determine whether these methods would be better at predicting disease outcomes.

This PhD project is being undertaken by Dr Geraldine Lynch, as lead researcher, with Dr Anna Bibby and Professor Nick Maskell providing supervision.