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Lowering Copper Levels in Mesothelioma May Make Standard Treatments More Effective

10-11-2013

Researchers at Western Australia’s Curtin University have found promising data to suggest that lowering the amount of copper in the body will improve a patient’s response to treatment for mesothelioma. In previous studies, decreasing the bioavailable, or absorbable, copper has shown promising results in reducing the rapid growth of tumors in different cancers and in animal models.

Copper is an essential trace mineral found in a wide range of vegetables, nuts and shellfish, and is needed by the body to utilize iron, maintain the health of bones and connective tissue and keep the thyroid gland functioning normally. Copper is also essential for the growth of new blood vessels, which is vital for the growth and spread of tumors.

Researchers monitored copper levels in tumor growth in mice implanted with human derived mesothelioma tumors and found that they rapidly accumulate copper as they progress. Using chelation drugs that attract the mineral, researchers experimented with lowering the level of copper in the mice and found that tumor growth was slowed. Also noted was a reduction in blood vessel diameter within the tumors and an increase of cancer-fighting T-cells.

Copper lowering alone does not produce the same results as other treatment options, such as chemotherapy, but researchers suggest that lowering copper levels when used in conjunction with other mesothelioma treatments, may make other treatments more effective.

The researchers state that further investigation is needed, but that the data suggests copper lowering in combination with immunotherapy looks promising.

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