Researchers uncover mechanism of rare cancer

A Honolulu-based University of Hawai'i Cancer Center study found HMGB1 protein in asbestos is linked to development of mesothelioma, a rare cancer.

The study, published Sept. 20 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S., used genetically modified mice with regulated HMGB1 expression and exposed them to asbestos. During the early phases of mesothelioma, the protein was released by mesothelial cells, which began an inflammatory response that overtime prompted the rare cancer to form.

The researchers said they hope their findings can lead to advanced treatments that can help slow the development of mesothelioma.

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