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Are some people predisposed to developing mesothelioma?

We have discussed the fact that there are some people who may be more likely to develop mesothelioma than others on this blog. We have noted that people in the military, construction workers, family members of people who worked with asbestos and workers who smoked are all among those who may be more likely to be diagnosed with illnesses like mesothelioma.

However, studies recently revealed that there may be a group of people who are predisposed to develop mesothelioma from the time they are born.

According to researchers, people with the BAP1 gene may be more likely to develop mesothelioma than other people, even when there is no professional exposure to asbestos and even if asbestos concentration levels to which a person is exposed are relatively small. 

We have previously discussed the fact that many victims of asbestos-related illnesses are those who spent many years and long hours exposed to the toxic fiber. This is still certainly true, but the recent studies show that just having a BAP1 gene mutation increases the risk of developing mesothelioma even without exposure to high levels or concentrations of asbestos.

As upsetting as this may be, other studies have suggested people with the BAP1 genetic mutation and mesothelioma live roughly seven times longer than mesothelioma victims without the mutation.

This information is proving to be critical in the courtroom, as genetic predisposition has been used by defendants in an attempt to avoid taking any responsibility for a victim's asbestos exposure. Some of these cases have been dismissed while others are still pending; at least one case resulted in a $19.4 million payout to a mesothelioma victim with the mutation.

As science improves and helps us understand asbestos-related illnesses better, it can mean mixed results in the courtroom. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you can work with an attorney to take legal action against the appropriate parties. This can be true whether you are genetically predisposed to illnesses like mesothelioma or not.

Source: Legal News Line, "Asbestos plaintiffs awarded $19.4M despite gene mutation defense," Heather Isringhausen Gvillo, Sept. 11, 2015

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