Dec. 2 Symposium to Address Mesothelioma Genetic Breakthrough

On Friday, December 2, the third annual Translational Cancer Medicine Symposium, which will be held at the Queen’s Conference Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, “will discuss the newly discovered Mesothelioma-Melanoma Cancer Syndrome,” the medical center’s symposium newsletter reports. In the symposium brochure, Dr. Michele Carbone, a lead scientist in this recent genetic breakthrough, explains that “This hereditary cancer syndrome is caused by heterozygous germlinemutations of the BAP1 gene” and distinguished by its link to the development of several cancers, including mesothelioma. The Queen’s Medical Center brochure goes on to explain that these genetic breakthroughs were reported this past August in two separate Nature Genetics articles. The center goes on to explain that although the University of Graz, located in Austria, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York were also involved, it was “a research team led by investigators at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center [that] made the link to uveal melanoma and mesothelioma.” The symposium’s announcement goes on to explain that during this event, “Physicians and scientists who made this discovery and some of the leading experts in cancer and the BAP1 gene, will gather for the first time in Honolulu to discuss how this discovery will help us implement novel preventive, early detection and therapeutic strategies for these malignancies.” Currently, medical professionals have a limited array of diagnostic and treatment procedures available to them, contributing to the poor prognosis most patients are given. Mesothelioma is still a problem in the United States, where 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of this disease are diagnosed on an annual basis. Most of these new diagnoses involve individuals who worked with asbestos anywhere from 20 to 50 years ago, which means an increased understanding of the mechanisms of this disease has the potential to help counteract this latency period and offer specialists a valuable head start on the diagnostic and treatment process. The symposium’s brochure goes on to explain that this event “has been designed for researchers and clinicians who deal with cancer patients, as well as medical students and residents.” Dr. Carbone explains this symposium will also “stimulate mutual interactions among leading researchers and clinicians,” hopefully allowing the formation of multidisciplinary teams which can work together to identify, prevent, and treat these cancers linked to mutated BAP 1 genes “in the early stages when they are much more susceptible to medical intervention.” This year’s symposium includes an impressive list of panelists and guest speakers, including the keynote speaker, Carlo M. Croce, M.D., “a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and one of the scientists who started the field of molecular cancer genetics.” Dr. Carbone, the chair of this symposium, eagerly welcomes the continuation of dialogue at this event between top researchers which “started 2 years ago with the establishment of the Hawaii Cancer Consortium and that has already facilitated a major breakthrough in cancer research.”
Reference:
Queen’s Medical Center: Third Annual Translational Cancer Medicine Symposium:“Mesothelioma-Melanoma Cancer Syndrome: Gene-Environment Interaction?”(Dec 2, 2011)
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