While the risk of asbestos disease still haunts many Australians despite a decade-long ban, new hopes to cure asbestos cancer and technology to protect demolition workers came up March this year.

A Cure for Mesothelioma?

Herald Sun reported on March 12 that a new drug is being developed in Melbourne that can shrink cancer tumours. Since Australia still remains to have the world’s highest rate of mesothelioma cases, this development is a great news for the medical community and the public.

Senior clinical research fellow Prof. Tom John of Olivia Newton John Cancer Research institute said that the drug is an antibody-drug conjugate that bids target cancer cell on the surface and releases packets of chemotherapy. One good thing about this drug is that it only target “bad cells” and only passes by “good cells”–far different from traditional drugs that target both good and bad cells

“In mice models, the tumours shrank and if we stopped the treatment they grew back,” Prof John told Herald Sun. Plans for human trials are underway hoping it will be the answer to Mesothelioma nightmare.

Asbestos Detecting technology

In South Australia, Frontier Microscopy developed a robotic microscope which tests air quality at demolition site hoped to be in great use in detecting asbestos fibres in the air. The technology is called Marvin. It screens air samples using artificial intelligence and robotic microscope way faster than the current means of doing the job.

Presently, the way air samples are screened and tested takes too slow and thus poses threat of asbestos exposure. What makes Marvin a revolutionary device is that it is an unmanned robot that can do a 15-minute lab test in just 2 minutes.

According to Safework Australia, Frontier Microscopy will make Marvin available in the market in the following months.

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