At the Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna of the Medical University of Vienna and the Vienna General Hospital interdisciplinary research collaboration with a focus on translational thoracic oncology has been in place for some years. In addition to lung cancer, the main focus is on pleural mesothelioma (pleural cancer). Michael Grusch from the Institute for Cancer Research at the MedUni Vienna says: "Until recently, pleural mesothelioma was regarded as a rare disease. Unfortunately, this is changing now. One of the main causes triggering the disease is asbestos. The long incubation period for this disease means that the damage done 20, 30 years ago is just coming to light now. A reputable study predicts that, by 2029, 250,000 people will die of pleural cancer in Europe."
Says thoracic surgeon Mir Alireza Hoda: "We are very struck by the fact that we are increasingly seeing younger patients between 30 and 50 years old. Earlier it mainly affected people over 65." Pleural mesothelioma is treated with a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy. Says Hoda: "Our goal is to find markers for mesothelioma and to develop personalized approaches to treatment. There still aren’t any but they would help us to select the right treatments for the patients affected." This could have a decisive impact on improving the success of treatment as, at present, the average survival rate after diagnosis is nine to twelve months.
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