The Law Offices of John Phebus

Protein coding gene could improve rare cancer diagnosis rates

A timely diagnosis is often crucial for cancer patients in Arizona and around the country, but experts believe that about one in ten cases of pleural mesothelioma are misdiagnosed. This rare form of cancer is most often found in individuals who have been exposed to asbestos, and it is challenging for oncologists because many of its symptoms can easily be mistaken for lung cancer. However, a team of researchers from the University of Hawaii, New York University and Honolulu's Queen's Medical Center believe that the protein coating gene BAP-1 could provide a diagnosis breakthrough.

The research team found traces of the tumor-suppressing protein in all of the 45 lung cancer samples they tested, but only about a third of the pleural mesothelioma samples tested contained BAP-1. The team concluded that individuals lacking the protein may be more vulnerable to the disease. The results of the research were published in the online journal Oncotarget on July 18.

The discovery is important because only about 3,000 cases of pleural mesothelioma are documented each year in the United States, and many oncologists have only a rudimentary understanding of the condition. Most of those diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma live no longer than 18 months, but it is hoped that many lives could be extended by more accurate and timely diagnosis protocols.

While physicians can never be perfect, they are expected to provide treatment and care that meets standards that are generally accepted within the medical community. When this duty is not met, personal injury attorneys may initiate medical professional negligence lawsuits on behalf of patients whose conditions have worsened as a result. In cases where cancer was not diagnosed, attorneys could call upon oncologists or other experts to establish that a more purposeful approach may have revealed the disease.

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