Anakinra May Slow Down Development of Asbestos–Related Diseases

If Trials Successful, Asbestosis Patients Have New Treatment Option

Researchers from the UK have discovered that a drug called Anakinra, normally used for treating arthritis and gout, may be able to prevent asbestos-related diseases. Up until now, scientists have not clearly understood how these dust particles and fibers trigger chronic inflammatory diseases. A recent study published in "Science Magazine," gives new insight into how asbestos fibers affect the lungs and cause inflammation that can lead to asbestosis, asbestos lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Asbestosis is one of the more common asbestos diseases caused by inhaling asbestos fibers which can result in the scarring of lung tissue. The inflammatory process starts within hours or days after inhalation of asbestos and continues to progress, even after exposure to asbestos ceases. However, it can take years, even decades after initial exposure to asbestos, for asbestos-related diseases to develop enough to be detected and diagnosed.

Anakinra, Used to Fight the Inflammation Caused by Asbestos

Now, British researchers believe that the drug, Anakinra, may be useful in fighting the inflammation resulting from the inhalation of asbestos fiber, and also slow down the development of asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases. Professor Jürg Tschopp of the University of Lausanne, along with the aid of other scientists in Europe and the United States, found that the inflammation from asbestos is linked to a complex of proteins known as the Nalp3 inflammasome.

"Because exposure to asbestos increases not only the risk of asbestosis, but also lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other incurable cancers, this suggested new treatment is highly desirable," says Professor Tschopp. He also says Anakinra would be used for those who have been exposed to asbestos in the past, as a preventive drug, rather than the cure. He stated that given the success of treating gout this way, "we are therefore quite optimistic that the same treatment will work for asbestosis." (Telegraph, October 4, 2008)

Anakinra still needs to be tested through clinical trials to determine whether it is a safe and effective drug.

Asbestos Exposure and Your Legal Rights

Since 1984, the asbestos attorneys of Brayton Purcell have been extensively involved in protecting the legal rights of the asbestos victims, including injured workers and their families. We have represented both asbestos workers and individuals who have come into contact with asbestos through others. We seek damages to the full extent allowed by law in order to compensate our client's for their pain and suffering, loss of wages, and medical expenses.

If you would like to request more information about how Brayton Purcell can help you, please contact us with your questions. Our offices are located in California, Oregon, and Utah. We have a nationwide client base and have represented clients from every state, with many of our asbestos lawyers admitted to practice law in multiple states.