A newly completed and published study about mesothelioma treatment has shown some shocking yet positive results. It seems that a Streptomyces bacteria antibiotic may offer new hope for mesothelioma patients. This particular type of cancer has a very poor prognosis, and it is believed that many people will still be diagnosed with it, which means intensive research must continue. This latest study is providing a glimmer of hope.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a very aggressive, very rare type of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. It is, in fact, one of the most deadly forms of cancer out there, not in the least because it is highly resistant to the usual therapies offered to cancer patients. Additionally, it is usually not discovered until it is in the advanced stages.
“Why is mesothelioma one of the deadliest diseases known to men then? The fact that it can lay dormant for decades without you noticing is one. When the doctor finally diagnoses you as the victim of mesothelioma, it is too late. You are unable to fight for it.”
Research on Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma has a latency period of between 10 and 50 years, with most people not developing any symptoms until at least 20 years after they were exposed to asbestos. While asbestos is now no longer used in the construction industry, this is a relatively new development. As a result, it is believed that many more people will be diagnosed with the cancer over the coming years, until rates finally start to drop.
It is easy to understand why scientists all over the world are conducting intensive research to find a treatment for this type of cancer. The latest piece of research has been completed in Korea, where scientists looked at the Manumycin A antibiotic. This antibiotic was already known to have some anti-cancer properties.
“Our results demonstrated that Manu A exerted anticancer effects by inducing apoptosis via inhibition of the Sp1-related signaling pathway in human malignant pleural mesothelioma,” concludes the report. The greater the concentration of Manumycin A, the more dramatic the effect it had on the mesothelioma cells.”
Antibiotic Treatment for Mesothelioma
It sounds almost too good to be true that cancer could be treated with a simple course of antibiotics. Naturally, it isn’t as simple as that. However, the fact that the medication does impact the development of cancer is a very positive proposition. It seems that the Streptomyces parvulus bacteria, where manumycin A is derived from, is what is actually providing these benefits. In addition, there seems to be something else to it as well, as around 65% of all antibiotics are based on Streptomyces parvulus
“A highly potent secondary metabolite producing actinomycetes strain is isolated from marine soil sediments of Visakhapatnam sea coast, Bay of Bengal. Over all ten strains are isolated from the collected soil sediments. Among the ten actinomycetes strains the broad spectrum strain RSPSN2 was selected for molecular characterization, antibiotic production and its purification.”
A number of different studies have now shown that manumycin A is able to interfere with some of the body’s natural cellular processes. As a result, it lowers the level of oxidative stress and can treat atherosclerosis. Most interestingly, in laboratory tests on mice, it was able to reduce some of their solid tumors. It was this finding that prompted various Korean scientists to test its efficacy specifically on mesothelioma cell lines. A 48-hour test was conducted, and the results were promising.
“Manu A induced a significant increase in apoptotic indices as shown by DAPI staining, Annexin V assay, multi-caspase activity and mitochondrial membrane potential assay.”
How Does it Work?
The scientists in Korea have to admit that there is a current lack of understanding of the molecular targets or mechanism of manumycin A. However, their test results did lift the veil on these properties to some degree. It certainly provided some clues on how the antibiotic could contribute to a more positive prognosis for mesothelioma patients.
What happened was that when the mesothelioma cells were exposed to manumycin A, they would start to go into apoptosis. This means that a key signaling protein is suppressed, which leads to the natural death of certain cells, including healthy ones. The tests demonstrate that the drug inhibited the Sp1-related signaling pathway, which is a pathway that is used in malignant pleural mesothelioma in humans. At higher concentrations, the effects were even more dramatic on the cancerous mesothelioma cells.
While the preliminary results of manumycin A have been incredibly promising, it will take some time before the drug will be offered for human clinical trials. First, further evidence will need to be gathered on how it could potentially improve outcomes for mesothelioma patients. These studies are currently taking place and if the results continue to be consistent, it is likely that human mesothelioma patients will be asked to take part in trials.