Developing targeted treatments for mesothelioma - the asbestos cancer
Aim of the research
Dr Hansen is working out how a network of proteins involved in the development of mesothelioma. His research aims to find potential drug molecules that can target aspects of this network and which could one day become new treatments for people with cancer.
Meet the scientist
Dr Carsten Hansen is a group leader at the Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh. Originally from Denmark, Carsten has been trained at some of the world's best labs including stints at the University of Cambridge and University College San Diego before moving to the University of Edinburgh to start his own lab in 2015.
More about the research project
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that usually starts in the layers of tissue that cover the lungs. The most common cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos and incidence is much higher in populations that work closely with or live near asbestos. Mesothelioma is often diagnosed very late on in the disease when treatments such as radio and chemotherapy are ineffective. Survival rates for mesothelioma are poor, with only about 15 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women surviving for more than 5 years after their diagnosis.
Dr Carsten Hansen is interested in a molecular signalling network found in cells called “The Hippo Pathway”. This network of proteins helps to convey messages around the cell that tell the cell to grow and divide. When Hippo Pathway signals are sent out too much it can contribute to the growth and development of cancer.