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Carbon nanotubes could harm the lungs
by Kangna Agarwal - October 28, 2009
New York, October 28 -- A collaborative study from U.S. claims that inhaling carbon nanotubes could harm pleura—the outer lining of the lungs, however, its long-term effects are yet to be proved.
Carbon nanotubes often used in sports equipments and medicalapplications are among the strongest fibres having significant electronic properties.
Researchers from theNorth CarolinaStateUniversity, The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences used a mouse model to examine the effect of inhalation of multi-walled carbon nanotubes on the lungs.
The study’s aim was to determine whether these carbon nanotubes had the potential of reaching pleura which is thought to be at an increased risk of being affected by the asbestos fibrespresent in the carbon nanotubes.
Asbestos is a group of naturally produced fibrous minerals that are extremely dangerous when inhaled and could causemesothelioma--cancer in mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs.
Unique reaction seen within a day
Within a day of exposing the mouse model to the carbon nanotubes, a unique reaction started developing around the pleura. The exposure caused the immune cells to gather on the surface of the protective lining of the lungs, indicating protection against the alien particles.
Thus, it was clear that the carbon fibres could reach out the pleura.
The inhaled nanotubes "clearly reach the target tissue for mesothelioma and cause a unique pathologic reaction on the surface of the pleura, and caused fibrosis," stated Dr. James Bonner, associate professor ofenvironmental and molecular toxicology at NC State and senior author of the study.
Long-term effects to be seen
The scientists only looked at the single exposure of the carbon fibres which was a major limitation of the study. However, long-term effects of the repeated exposure of carbon nanotubes are yet to be seen.
"More work needs to be done in that area and it is completely unknown at this point whether inhaled carbon nanotubes will prove to be carcinogenic in the lungs or in the pleural lining," the researchers said.
The study’s findings appear in the journal, Nature Nanotechnology.
Mesothelioma and Other Cancers Caused by Asbestos Through DNA Damage
Monday, October 26, 2009 -Surviving Mesothelioma and Cancer Monthly
Exposure to crocidolite asbestos triggers enhanced DNA damage that can turn cells cancerous, according to a study published online September 25 in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. The discovery might one day lead to a new method of screening people who have been exposed to asbestos and are at risk for mesothelioma and other cancers.
The connection between asbestos and cancers such as mesothelioma has been well documented. Because decades can pass before asbestos-related cancers are diagnosed, and patients with mesothelioma survive an average of just a few years, it is crucial to identify signs of increased cancer risk as early as possible. One way might be to look for DNA damage in patients who have been exposed to asbestos.
Crocidolite asbestos is thought to be the most dangerous form of this fibrous mineral. It leads to the creation of harmful molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) and triggers DNA damage that can cause normal cells to turn cancerous. The body tries to repair that damage, but it isn’t always successful. This can lead to the creation of cancer like mesothelioma.
DNA is made up of a two-stranded double helix. When only one of those two strands is defective (called a single strand break), the other strand can be used as a template to repair the broken strand. When both strands are broken (called a double strand break), the body has more trouble fixing the damage. “As a result of not being repaired, the DNA can give rise to mutations,” says study author Val Vallyathan, PhD, Team Leader in Pathology and Physiology Research at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and Professor of Pathology atWest VirginiaUniversity. Those mutations can lead to mesothelioma and other cancers.
Dr. Vallyathan and his colleagues looked at the ability of three substances—crocidolite asbestos, silica, and titanium dioxide—to trigger DNA damage in cells, and the genetic ability to repair that damage. Asbestos has already been proven to cause mesothelioma and lung cancer. Dr. Vallyathan included silica and titanium dioxide in the study because their cancer-causing potential is still widely debated.
“Silica is not fully confirmed as a carcinogen in humans, although several studies have shown that it is,” he says. “Titanium dioxide had been considered a very inert particle and had been used as a negative control in animal studies and cellular studies, but in recent years it has been shown that it is probably more toxic than what it was thought to be.”
The researchers exposed normal airway cells and lung cancer cells to all three substances. Although crocidolite asbestos, silica, and titanium dioxide all triggered DNA damage, asbestos was by far the most toxic to cells. It produced the highest amount of ROS production, and led to more DNA double strand breaks than either silica or titanium dioxide.
Asbestos caused continuous DNA damage in both the normal and cancerous cells, which the cells were unable to repair. That second hit of damage to already cancerous cells indicates that asbestos could trigger additional changes inside those cells, leading to more aggressive cancers like mesothelioma that are more likely to spread, Dr. Vallyathan says.
The authors say detection of DNA double strand breaks could be used to measure potential cancer risk in people who have been exposed to crocidolite asbestos. Dr. Vallyathan says that in future research, he would like to monitor the blood of people with known exposures to carcinogens such as asbestos, to determine whether DNA damage can be detected early.
Msiska Z, Pacurari M, Mishra A, Leonard SS, Castranova V, Vallyathan V. DNA double strand breaks by asbestos, silica and titanium dioxide: possible biomarker of carcinogenic potential? Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2009 Sep 25.
© Surviving Mesothelioma and Cancer Monthly. All rights reserved.
Study Shows How Nanotubes Affect Lining of Lungs
For Immediate Release
Using mice in an animal model study, the researchers set out to determine what happens when multi-walled carbon nanotubes are inhaled. Specifically, researchers wanted to determine whether the nanotubes would be able to reach the pleura, which is the tissue that lines the outside of the lungs and is affected by exposure to certain types of asbestos fibers which cause the cancer mesothelioma. The researchers used inhalation exposure and found that inhaled nanotubes do reach the pleura and cause health effects.
Inhaled carbon nanotubes accumulate within cells at the pleural lining of the lung as visualized by light microscopy.
Short-term studies described in the paper do not allow conclusions about long-term responses such as cancer. However, the inhaled nanotubes “clearly reach the target tissue for mesothelioma and cause a unique pathologic reaction on the surface of the pleura, and caused fibrosis,” says Dr. James Bonner, associate professor of environmental and molecular toxicology at NC State and senior author of the study. The “unique reaction” began within one day of inhalation of the nanotubes, when clusters of immune cells (lymphocytes and monocytes) began collecting on the surface of the pleura. Localized fibrosis, or scarring on parts of the pleural surface that is also found with asbestos exposure, began two weeks after inhalation.
The study showed the immune response and fibrosis disappeared within three months of exposure. However, this study used only a single exposure to the nanotubes. “It remains unclear whether the pleura could recover from chronic, or repeated, exposures,” Bonner says. “More work needs to be done in that area and it is completely unknown at this point whether inhaled carbon nanotubes will prove to be carcinogenic in the lungs or in the pleural lining.”
The mice received a single inhalation exposure of six hours as part of the study, and the effects on the pleura were only evident at the highest dose used by the researchers – 30 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). The researchers found no health effects in the mice exposed to the lower dose of one mg/m3.
The study, “Inhaled Carbon Nanotubes Reach the Sub-Pleural Tissue in Mice,” was co-authored by Bonner, Dr. Jessica Ryman-Rasmussen, Dr. Arnold Brody, and Dr. Jeanette Shipley-Phillips of NC State, Dr. Jeffrey Everitt who is an adjunct faculty at NC State, Dr. Mark Cesta of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Earl Tewksbury, Dr. Owen Moss, Dr. Brian Wong, Dr. Darol Dodd and Dr. Melvin Andersen of The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences. The study is published in the Oct. 25 issue ofNature Nanotechnology and was funded by The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, NIEHS and NC State’sCollege ofAgriculture and Life Sciences.
Note to Editors: The presentation abstract follows.
“Inhaled Carbon Nanotubes Reach the Sub-Pleural Tissue in Mice”
Authors: Jessica Ryman-Rasmussen, Arnold Brody, Jeanette Shipley-Phillips, James Bonner, Jeffrey Everitt, North Carolina State University; Mark Cesta, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; Earl Tewksbury, Owen Moss, Brian Wong, Darol Dodd, Melvin Andersen, The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences.
Published: Oct. 25, 2009,Nature Nanotechnology.
Abstract: Carbon nanotubes are shaped like fibres and can stimulate inflammation at the surface of the peritoneum when injected into the abdominal cavity of mice, raising concerns that inhaled nanotubes may cause pleural fibrosis and/or mesothelioma. Here, we show that multiwalled carbon nanotubes reach the subpleura in mice after a single inhalation exposure of 30 mg m-3 for 6 h. Nanotubes were embedded in the subpleural wall and within subpleural macrophages. Mononuclear cell aggregates on the pleural surface increased in number and size after 1 day and nanotube-containing macrophages were observed within these foci. Subpleural fibrosis unique to this form of nanotubes increased after 2 and 6 weeks following inhalation. None of these effects was seen in mice that inhaled carbon black nanoparticles or a lower dose of nanotubes (1 mg m-3). This work suggests that minimizing inhalation of nanotubes during handling is prudent until further long-term assessments are conducted.
Veteran Alert: VA Recognizes Agent Orange as Cause of Illness
More than 35 years after the end of the Vietnam War, the VA has finally acknowledged that Agent Orange is responsible for a variety of diseases, including cancer
Syracuse,New York 10/14/2009 04:07 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)
In an announcement that prompted a collective sigh of relief and satisfaction from the American Legion and scores of Vietnam vets nationwide, the Department of Veterans Affairs recently recognized the herbicide Agent Orange as a contributor to the development of three diseases that regularly plague those who fought in the jungles of Vietnam, where the chemical was widely used to kill dense foliage.
Though many consider the proclamation “too little, too late”, Veterans Affairs, prompted by a report compiled by the Institute of Medicine, announced this week that Agent Orange is a contributor to the development of hairy cell leukemia – a very rare form of cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, and ischemic heart disease. It has also been unofficially linked to a host of other diseases, such as asthma, pleurisy, tuberculosis, thyroid disease, and more. Many veterans suffering from these diseases seek costly treatment at veteran medical centers nationwide.
From 1962 to 1971, an estimated 21 million gallons of the toxic chemical was sprayed in the jungles ofVietnam. Intended to decrease the density of the foliage there in order to make it difficult for enemy troops to conceal themselves, it also sickened and killed both soldiers and civilians who came in contact with the herbicide.
Many liken the effects of Agent Orange on the veterans of the Vietnam Conflict to the effects of asbestos on those veterans who served during World War II and the Korean War. During that era, veteran asbestos exposure was at its highest and large numbers of those who toiled inU.S. shipyards later developed mesothelioma, a severe form of cancer attributed only to asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma attacks the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart and is caused when tiny asbestos particles become lodged in those areas and cause scarring and, in some cases, cancerous tumors. The disease can remain latent in the body for up to 50 years, and when symptoms finally surface, the cancer is in advanced stages. At that point, mesothelioma treatment is only minimally successful.
However, doctors like thoracic oncologist Dr. David Sugarbaker ofBoston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute continue to work to develop new ways to successfully treat the many veterans and others who suffer from malignant mesothelioma. Founder of the International Pleural Mesothelioma Program, Sugarbaker focuses on multi-modal treatment of the disease and has dedicated much of his research to finding ways to improve the life expectancy of mesothelioma victims.
Mesothelioma Patient Participation Requested forNorth Carolina Study
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 6:06am
FirstWatch of theCarolinas is partnering with Wake Forest School of Medicine to conduct a research study on the progression of asbestos-related cancers and lung diseases, including the rare cancer mesothelioma.
According to FirstWatch, a non-profit health care network, the study “examines the associated environmental factors and genetic markers of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, basically identifying how frequently encountered environmental pollutants affect the body and determining the genetic factors that make some families more susceptible than others to mesothelioma and other forms of cancer.”
Mesothelioma patients are encouraged to contact FirstHealth Clinical Trials to participate in the study.
“The FirstHealth Clinical Trials staff is excited about this opportunity to assist one of our state’s medical research institutions further the knowledge about this deadly disease and the factors that cause it,” said Chris Miller, Director of Clinical Trials atFirstHealthMooreRegionalHospital. “Working together is part of our mission at FirstHealth, and this opportunity is a perfect example of trying to fulfill that mission.”
The principal investigator of the study, Dr. Jill Ohar, has been studying mesothelioma and the causes of the cancer for more than 20 years.
“Families have been devastated by this disease,” said Dr. Ohar, “but what is surprising is that despite the strong association of asbestos exposure to mesothelioma, only a small number of people exposed to asbestos actually develop mesothelioma.”
“Over years of research, we have determined that there is a strong tendency for mesothelioma to run in families and it tends to be associated with a family history of cancer, which suggests a genetic susceptibility,” Dr. Ohar explained.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer typically linked to asbestos exposure. The cancer develops when asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested into the body where they can become lodged in organs, causing inflammation or infection. Overtime, scars and tumors can develop, resulting in decreased lung function and difficulty breathing for many patients.
Unfortunately decades often pass between the initial exposure to asbestos and the demonstration of symptoms of mesothelioma, allowing the cancer to progress to later developmental stages. Though a cure does not exist, many patients elect to undergo mesothelioma treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation to combat the cancer.
Additional information about mesothelioma may be found though theMesotheliomaCenter.
Mesothelioma Treatment Alert: National Cancer Institute to Begin New Phase of Mesothelioma Drug Trial
Study drug targets proteins that aid in tumor growth
Syracuse,New York 9/11/2009 07:43 PM GMT (FINDITT)
The National Cancer Institute inBethesda,Maryland is enrolling participants in a Phase II clinical trial to determine the efficacy of the cancer drug gefitinib in treating patients with malignant mesothelioma cancer.
In this study, researchers involved in the multi-center study will be evaluating several factors, including the activity of the drug in terms of failure-free survival, as well as the response rate, toxicity levels, and overall survival rates in patients treated with gefitinib.
Marketed under the trade name Iressa, gefitinib specifically targets the proteins in malignant cells, inhibiting cellular growth.
Currently, gefitinib is only indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and who have undergone previous chemotherapy. Researchers believe the drug may also be effective in mesothelioma treatment, as well as the treatment of other cancers involving the protein molecule known as the epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR.
During the trial, researchers plan to enroll 40 patients with histologically confirmed malignant mesothelioma that is not amenable to curative surgery or radiotherapy. In addition, patients must have measurable lesions and no known brain metastases.
Patients involved in the study will receive daily doses of oral gefitinib for alternating periods until progression of the cancer is halted, or unacceptable toxicity levels are reached. Clinicians will follow study participants for up to four years.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that attacks the mesothelium, the protective membrane that surrounds the body’s internal organs. The disease is caused by exposure to asbestos, a material once commonly found in many materials used in the construction, shipbuilding, heating and ventilation, and other industries. Asbestos is present in thousands of buildings across the country, including residential, office, industrial, and government and public buildings.
Asbestos is a common silica-based mineral, once highly prized for its resistance to heat and moisture, as well as its fibrous nature, which allowed it to be formed into many products ideal for construction, industrial, and other applications. In its pristine state, asbestos is harmless. However, over time the asbestos fibers become dry and brittle, and when disturbed are easily released into the air where they can be ingested or inhaled. Once in the body, these tiny fibers become permanently lodged in the tissue of the mesothelium where they cause abnormal cellular growth.
Although the use of asbestos in manufacturing was banned in theUnited States in the late 1970s, millions of homes and other buildings constructed prior to the early 1980s contain the material in various forms. Simple projects, such as renovations and duct cleaning, can result in asbestos fibers being released into the air.
It can take up to 50 years for the symptoms of mesothelioma to become evident. The initial symptoms of mesothelioma may mimic those of flu or other respiratory ailments, and may include persistent cough, shortness of breath, and chest or abdominal pain or swelling. Mesothelioma diagnosis is made following a complete physical exam, thorough health history to determine potential asbestos exposure, and chest X-rays or other medical imaging procedures.
Currently, mesothelioma prognosis is grim, with no known cure. Treatments focus on amelioration of symptoms for those affected with the condition.
Mesothelioma patients and their families seeking additional information about the latest advances in mesothelioma treatment and care can contact Dr. Raphael Bueno of Brigham and Women’s Hospital inBoston. As associate chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Bueno is uniquely positioned to offer guidance regarding the most current treatment modalities available for patients who suffer from mesothelioma.
Health Emergency Declared in Libby
2009-06-22 19:17:18 (GMT) (mesotheliomacancernews.com - Mesothelioma News)
The EPA has declared a health emergency in theMontana town due to substantial asbestos contamination.
Mesothelioma Cancer News (Libby,Montana) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared a health emergency for the town ofLibby,Montana. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the EPA made the declaration for the first time in the town due to community contamination of asbestos.
As noted by the AP, the declaration will warrant widespread cleanup and an improvement in health protection for residents who have become ill as a result of the asbestos exposure. More than 200 people have reportedly died from asbestos-related illnesses in the town and thousands more have developed health complications.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is quoted in the report as stating of the situation, “Based on a rigorous re-evaluation of the situation on the ground, we will continue to move aggressively on the cleanup efforts and protect the health of the people… We’re here to help create a long and prosperous future for this town.”
Asbestos exposure can lead to serious health conditions including mesothelioma cancer and asbestosis.
Mesothelioma Cancer News provides news and information onMontana asbestos attorneys and law.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia User Arkyan
ASBESTOS ALERT-Tennessee Veterans hospital exposes workers!
2009-04-30 03:54:59 (GMT) (WiredPRNews.com - Mesothelioma Asbestos, Press Releases)
MurfreesboroVA hospital exposes workers to toxic asbestos fibers for decades!
Nashville,TN(MesotheliomaCancerNews.com)–NewsChannel5 investigative reporter team recently exposed shocking photos, video, and information which revealed the Veterans Administration(VA) Hospital www.va.gov, inMurfreesboro,Tennessee, exposed workers to harmful asbestos containing materials. Workers at the VA claim they were required to work around and repair pipes lined with asbestos containing insulation for decades. Hospital employees further allege supervisors and managers at the VA did not provide workers with the appropriate protective gear as required by federal and state asbestos exposure laws.
According the to NewsChannel5, an employee of the VA complained to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA launched an investigation into the possible direct and secondary exposure to asbestos violations. The federal asbestos regulators cited the VA for six violations all related to employees and asbestos exposure. The federal government states exposure to asbestos is not safe at any level. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and causes asbestos related illnesses like asbestosis and mesothelioma lung cancer. Doctors specializing in the treatment of asbestos related illnesses and cancers state their is no known cure for any diseases caused by the toxic materials and fibers. Currently symptom management is the only treatment available to workers, consumers, and innocent victims sickened by asbestos.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was passed by the federal legislature to mandate employers responsibility for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) www.osha.gov, a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Labor www.dol.gov is charged with the promotion of the safety and health ofAmerica’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards in the workplace.
MesotheliomaCancerNews.com news forTennessee asbestos injury claims.
California Officials Urging Caution to Families Returning to Burned Homes
Fire-damaged residences that were built before 1980 most likely contained asbestos in the form of insulation or other products and environmental and health officials are encouraging homeowners to be wary of airborne toxins when they return to their property
Syracuse,NY 5/12/2009 06:55 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)
When 8,700 acres went up in flames outside ofSanta Barbara,California in a matter of days, authorities were concerned that citizens could face serious lung damage from debris from the fire.
Now authorities are issuing statements to ensure thatCalifornia residents and citizens all across theUnited States are aware of the best way to avoid lung damage from inhaling airborne toxins after a fire.
As residents of an area stricken by recurring fires begin to clear ash and other debris from their cars and homes, toxic dust can become airborne, leading to health problems, as well as dangerous air quality issues.
Inhaled asbestos particles have been linked to asbestosis, lung cancer, and pleural mesothelioma. Inhaled ash may also lead to severe respiratory issues.
California officials strongly urge people to take precautions when cleaning up fire-related debris. Health officials recommend wearing a well-fitting dust mask while cleaning up and working around debris, as asbestos fibers may become airborne when rubble and debris are shifted. Protective glasses or goggles should also be worn, as should disposable clothing, shoe booties and gloves. Individuals who are working in and around asbestos-containing debris should remove clothing, shoes and other items that may be covered in asbestos dust before traveling to another location, as this will prevent secondhand asbestos dust exposure.
Masks rated N95 or P100 are the best, and as commonly found at hardware stores. Those without masks should cover their nose and mouth with a damp cloth when they are around asbestos debris.
Authorities also caution homeowners about returning to their homes if asbestos was present in the house. A certified asbestos consultant should be contacted if the home contained asbestos products, and it is recommended that homeowners do not tackle do-it-yourself asbestos abatement. If a homeowner must enter or work in an area where asbestos materials may be present, the materials should be dampened with a hose to avoid generating dust.
If a homeowner is determined to handle asbestos materials on their own, environmental officials recommend that homeowners wear a P100 HEPA respirator, which typically has magenta or purple filters.
Children and pets should be prohibited from entering a home that has been damaged by fire and may contain asbestos debris. Children who inhale asbestos fibers may be well into their fifties or sixties before they begin to suffer from asbestos disease symptoms. In rare instances, pets have developed mesothelioma cancer as a result from asbestos exposure.
Firefighters and other first responders who are working in and around asbestos-containing rubble should wear a self-contained breathing apparatus, (SCBA) or an equivalent to avoid inhalation of airborne toxins.
For homeowners who live in a residence that sustained minimal damage but that requires minor repairs and upgrades, it is advisable to replace asbestos-containing materials, such as attic insulation, drywall, or roofing tiles, with a “greener” alternative. Asbestos insulation alternatives, for example, include walnut shell or rice hull flour, cellulose, corn cob “grits,” and sawdust.
Residents Alarmed over Asbestos Warnings
Posted on April 6th, 2009
by Deon Scott in All News
Many residents have expressed concern after finding that men wearing protective clothing had been posting warning signs relating to asbestos around the neighbourhood. The residents are all locals from theRosa Parks Road neighborhood inPalm Springs.
According to reports officials are now planning to address the concerns of the worried residents. Officials from the City Hall of Palm Springs, California are looking to discuss the issue with residents to try and alleviate their fears and concerns over possible asbestos contamination in area.
It was last April that residents spotted the men wearing hazardous material suits posting warning signs about asbestos, and at that time many questioned the men about what was going on. However, they claim that they were given no information and were simply told to leave.
Asbestos is a potentially deadly substance and is known to lead to a range of health problems through long terms or high level exposure, and this includes serious respiratory problems, scarring of the lungs, and a form of deadly cancer called mesothelioma.