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9 October 2017

Papworth helps launch Mesothelioma Research Network

Papworth Mesothelioma researchers are part of a newly created national network which aims to make breakthroughs in the treatment of the disease more regular.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) launched the Mesothelioma Research Network (MRN) at the Wellcome Collection in London today (October 9).

The Network will include mesothelioma researchers from all disciplines. Initial members from Papworth, Leicester and Imperial College will be joined by researchers from all corners of the UK - giving a huge boost to research and real hope to people diagnosed with the disease.

Dr Robert Rintoul, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Lead Clinician for Cancer and Director of Clinical Trials Unit Collaboration at Papworth Hospital, said: “Papworth Hospital is delighted to be a part of the new Mesothelioma Network. Papworth already has considerable experience in surgical clinical trials in mesothelioma and hosts MesobanK, the UK’s first mesothelioma tissue bank.

“Generous funding from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation means that MesobanK can continue to be supported. This MRN will be instrumental in driving further progress for all those whose lives will be affected by mesothelioma.”  

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer in the chest, and less commonly the heart or abdomen, caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. It affects over 5,400 people in the UK, and numbers have increased over the last four decades. The number of people dying every year from mesothelioma is around 2,500 (HSE 2016). At this time there is no cure and the disease often kills with frightening speed - the average time of survival after diagnosis is only 11 months.

The MRN was set up with a £5 million donation from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation. The majority of the donation has allowed the BLF to fund ground-breaking research into mesothelioma at Papworth Hospital, as well as the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. This matched government support announced in the 2016 budget to set up the National Mesothelioma Research Centre at Imperial College in London.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation said: “As a charity that provides support we know just how awful a mesothelioma diagnosis can be. We speak with people who were exposed to asbestos as teachers, carpenters, as partners of military personnel over 30 years ago, who now find themselves with a lung condition that is terminal.

“The generous donation from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation has made not only world-class research at two leading institutes possible, but has made hosting the MRN possible. By bringing researchers together to share ideas and resources and collaborate we hope to find new ways of diagnosing and treating this devastating disease more quickly than if researchers were to work in isolation.”