Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Biological Sciences, Division of


Biology – Cellular and Molecular Biology

Faculty Mentor

Mark Pershouse


Malignant mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive form of cancer that affects mesothelial cells. These cells act to form a slippery and protective layer of cells that line the serous cavities and internal organs of the body. Malignant mesothelioma most often develops in the pleural space, but also arises in the peritoneum, pericardium, tunica vaginalis testis, and ovarian epithelium (Vinícius and Isoldi, 2013). Evidence has shown a strong relationship between asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma, and this is the most widely known disease vector of malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos is a family of carcinogenic silicate fibers that are able to infiltrate and damage the pleural space of the lungs and is tightly correlated with malignant mesothelioma. However, exposure to erionite and simian virus 40 (SV40), as well as genetic predisposition, have also been associated with malignant mesothelioma (Vinícius et al., 2014). Despite these alternate agents, the leading cause of the disease remains asbestos exposure. Studies have shown that 80% of individuals diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma had previous asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a common material used in many commercial products because it is cost effective and has useful properties in many industries. The result is that despite it deadly affects, asbestos has not been banned by most countries including the U.S. and is still in wide use today. In fact, in 2003 over 2 million tons were mined and used in products worldwide (Vinícius and Isoldi, 2013).

Honors College Research Project




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