2014 may be remembered as the year that mesothelioma sufferers were handed by the government, a bitter sweet ‘Bill’, indeed. The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) only allowed those diagnosed after 25th July 2012 to be eligible to apply for mesothelioma compensation, and excluded all other victims of asbestosis diseases, such as pleural plaques.

Now recent medical research has recently discovered another sour antidote to the fatal effects of asbestos exposure, which could help increase the life expectancy of mesothelioma patients. Laboratory evidence, newly gathered by doctors in northern Europe and the Far East, has revealed that acetic acid – a primary ingredient in vinegar – appeared to be “lethal” to malignant mesothelioma cancer cells.

Powerful anti-cancer properties

Acetic acid, which is colourless and gives vinegar its distinctive sharp smell and taste, makes up 3 to 5 per cent of vinegar, while the remaining liquid is actually 95-97 per cent water. Used as a food additive to regulate acidity, in its pure form, acetic acid may also be found in the production of photographic film and wood glue, as well as a number of synthetic fibres and fabrics.

Recent research has led doctors to suggest that acetic acid may also possess powerful anti-cancer properties. In the laboratory, acetic acid was added at different concentrations and lengths of time to the cell cultures of gastric cancer obtained from rats and humans, and also two types of human malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Almost total cell death

Analysing the affect of the acetic acid on the differing kinds of cancer cells, it was found that while damage was observed to have been caused to all of the cell cultures tested, the acid was especially lethal to mesothelioma cells. The presence of acetic acid at a concentration of 0.5 per cent for just ten minutes was seen to have resulted in almost total cell death.

The researchers conclude from the early results that the direct application of acetic acid to tumours “may be a feasible approach for the treatments of gastric cancer and possibly other malignancies.”

No hard scientific evidence

As with all laboratory studies into possible new asbestosis treatments, there is considerable further testing to be carried out before approval may be authorised to treat patients on a wider basis. Researchers also caution that the new study only tested pure acetic acid – not vinegar itself.

The potential cancer-fighting properties of vinegar as a dietary supplement continues to be investigated but, to date, there is still no hard scientific evidence that the consumption of acetic acid present in vinegar can kill mesothelioma or any other type of cancer.

Continue experimenting with different combinations

While there remains no current cure for malignant mesothelioma cancer, medical research teams from hospital universities and clinical study groups around the world continue to experiment with different combinations of drugs, radiation treatments, surgical procedures and less-invasive medications from a variety of related sources.

In a limited number of cases remission has been achieved either spontaneously or through the adoption of specialised treatment procedures, however the disappearance of all evidence of mesothelioma cancer is rare. Long-term mesothelioma survivors may be considered to be in ‘partial remission’ when they are able to survive for several years after diagnosis, despite the presence of the cancer tumours.