In 10 seconds? Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. While asbestos use has decreased, researchers are still searching for better treatment options for those who develop mesothelioma.

What’s asbestos again? Asbestos is a group of minerals that have a fibrous and fluffy texture. It was widely used as an insulation material and fireproofing agent in tiles and textiles until the dangers of inhaling asbestos were discovered: its fibers could get embedded in the lungs and cause cancers like mesothelioma. Regulations starting in the 1970s have limited its use in many places, but it continues to be mined and used in some countries (like Russia and China–and it’s still not completely banned in the US).

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