Leicester Hospital Leads Mesothelioma Treatment Trials

Two new treatments are being tested in the East Midlands for an aggressive cancer caused mainly by exposure to asbestos.

The research into mesothelioma is being done at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital.

Mesothelioma most commonly starts in the inner lining of the chest wall causing it to thicken and reduce lung capacity, which in turn puts a strain on other organs including the heart.

Since the 1960s, it has been known that the disease can be triggered by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. Despite the UK’s ban on asbestos issued in 1985, the number of deaths caused by the disease has grown each year from 153 in 1968 to 2,321 in 2009 – the highest incidence in the world.

This number is set to continue to rise sharply over the next 20 years, with a peak coming in 2020.

Two studies involving Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester aim to test new potential treatments which could improve survival and quality of life for mesothelioma patients.

Meso2, a study funded by Synta Pharmaceuticals, aims to test the effectiveness of a drug called ganetespib in preventing mesothelioma tumours.

Ganetespib inhibits the action of a protein in cells called heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), which is required for the stabilization and proper functioning of many proteins required for tumour growth.

The trial will involve around 140 patients across the UK. Professor Fennell said: “We think this is a new way of being able to target mesothelioma. Laboratory tests show ganetespib is extremely active in mesothelioma – and combined with chemotherapy, this treatment could shrink cancers down and improve symptoms for patients.”

The second trial is part of a global trial named COMMAND (Control of Mesothelioma with MAiNtenance Defactinib) sponsored by pharmaceutical company Verastem, which will investigate a new drug called defactinib.

The researchers believe the drug could help to inhibit focal adhesion kinase (FAK), which is critical for the cancer stem cells’ development into tumors.

The drug could potentially reduce the need for repeated chemotherapy treatment by killing cancer stem cells remaining following front-line therapy.

The trial will involve around 350 – 400 mesothelioma patients worldwide and Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester is leading the study for the UK, which was the first country to open the trial worldwide.


Acorn Analytical Services are a multi-disciplined environmental consultancy, specifically set up to meet our client’s asbestos management and statutory compliance needs.

We operate under UKAS accreditation in strict accordance with ISO 17025 & ISO 17020. Our asbestos services include:

We are passionate in preventing people being exposed to asbestos.  If you would like any further information or assistance, please get in touch today. Call us on 01604 648928 or request a call back via out contact us page.

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Sam Savage Commercial Director

Commercial Director Sam Savage talks about his first 3 weeks

Last month we announced Sam Savage had joined Acorn Analytical Services as our Commercial Director, working out of the Northampton office and covering the South of England. Sam joins the business from an another asbestos consultancy where he worked for more than 20 years, working his way up from a trainee right through to contracts … Read more

Asbestos Awareness Training

Asbestos Awareness Training – the importance of practising what we preach

At Acorn, we work hard to educate everyone about the dangers of asbestos. One of the ways we do this is through our UKATA accredited Asbestos Awareness training courses. Being a UKATA Approved Training Provider not only demonstrates that Acorn Analytical Services is committed to delivering the highest standard of asbestos training, it also means … Read more

Have you ever wondered what the consequences could be if a company fails to protect workers from asbestos exposure?

Asbestos exposure risk leads to jail sentences

Have you ever wondered what the consequences could be if a company fails to protect workers from asbestos exposure? At Acorn, we work hard to educate the public about the dangers of asbestos which remains the world’s biggest workplace killer. When asbestos is disturbed it releases tiny fibres into the air which can cause a … Read more

MPs want asbestos to be removed from public and commercial buildings within the next 40 years.

MPs fight for asbestos to be removed from public buildings

Last week, MPs called for all asbestos to be removed from public and commercial buildings within the next 40 years. The Government’s Work and Pensions Select Committee wants the asbestos to be removed because the substance remains the biggest workplace killer in the UK with around 5,000 deaths linked to it every year. Even though … Read more

During Global Asbestos Awareness Week charities and organisations around the world will be working hard to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos which remains the globe’s biggest workplace killer.

Hitting back at hidden killer during Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2022

Today marks the start of Global Asbestos Awareness Week. Between now and April 7, charities and organisations around the world will be working hard during Global Asbestos Awareness Week to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos which remains the globe’s biggest workplace killer. In the UK, the use of asbestos was banned more than … Read more

Acorn Analytical Services is proud to be helping women to #BreakTheBias.

#BreakTheBias – International Women’s Day 2022

Today, Acorn is incredibly proud to be supporting International Women’s Day. The United Nations began marking the global event back in 1977 and the day is now recognised as the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. This year means a lot to our diverse team at Acorn because the theme for 2022 is … Read more

International Women's Day Emma

International Women’s Day 2022

To mark International Women’s Day, we wanted to introduce you to a couple of Acorn Analytical Service’s fantastic female employees. The asbestos industry – like the construction industry in general – is a male dominated sector but at Acorn we are fortunate to work with several brilliant female employees, including asbestos analysts, asbestos surveyors and … Read more

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home?

Workers exposed to asbestos during refurbishment

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home? During the 20th century asbestos was used heavily by the UK’s construction industry and even though its use has been banned for more than two decades its legacy lives on in our homes, garages, workplaces and public buildings. … Read more

Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease

Rare Disease Day 2022

Did you know that Rare Disease Day is taking place on Monday? Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease and for their families and carers. More than 600 events will be taking place across the … Read more

The Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the HSE's approach to asbestos management

Asbestos management inquiry held by Government

Over the past few months, the Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the approach of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to asbestos management in buildings. There are six million tonnes of asbestos in the UK, most of which can be found in more than 1.5 million buildings across … Read more