Mesothelioma Empowerment Update - November 22, 2011

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Honoring Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and Remembering the Service Connected Asbestos-Induced Mesothelioma That Killed Him

{Bath, Maine]  Mesothelioma, as we know, does not respect fame, fortune, fitness, beauty or power.  It has taken down movie stars (Steve McQueen), athletes (Merlin Olsen), artists (Warren Zevon), politicians (Bruce Vento), and warriors, such as Admiral Elmo Zumwalt.

Back in the late 1990s, when I helped launch the first-ever meso medical research  foundation (MARF),  Congressman Bruce Vento had just been diagnosed. Although his plate was full, and understandably he was reluctant to let the asbestos cancer shape his legacy, he agreed to serve on MARF's board of directors.  Vento was exposed to asbestos while working construction jobs earlier in his career.

About the same time, Admiral Zumwalt, who served as the Chief Naval Officer from 1970 to 1974, was also diagnosed, and soon after he passed away. Admiral Zumwalt was exposed to asbestos while serving his country on Navy ships. His mesothelioma was truly a "war-related disease." More...


Dr. Cameron to Asbestos Defendants: Do the Right Thing, Fund Research, Help Us Clean up Your Mess

[Las Vegas, NV] Sometimes you just gotta throw it out there, even though the cards are totally stacked against you.

Asbestos litigation has raged on for about 50 years. The asbestos companies have spent billions to defend and settle lawsuits. Hundreds of millions have been spent on concocting junk science to prove that asbestos is as benign as mother's milk. But nary a penny has been invested in finding a cure.

On the medical front, nobody can say with a straight face that in the last 30 years there have been any significant advances in extending the life of mesothelioma patients. Yes, we can talk all day about multi-modal therapies, whether EPP is rational or not,or whether there's any proven benefit of pursuing chemotherapy versus doing nothing at all. More...


VW Gone Buggy

I grew up adoring Herbie the Love Bug.  Herbie was the odd-car out.  Short, stubby, and, next to the Camaros and Firebirds and Chargers, wimpy. But Herbie had a heart of gold. Despite it's undersized engine and buggish shell it managed to overcome and win not only the race but our hearts and minds.

My pre-adolescent adoration spread to Volkswagen in general, who artfully played to the counterculture crowd in the 1960s. Their VW bus actually became a symbol of the freedom-loving hippy generation.  The VW became part of a costume - you wore the Bug or Bus like you would love beads, tie-dye, peace symbols, sandals, a doobie and an acoustic guitar. More... 


Advocacy:

MARS Feasibilitiy Trial: Conclusions not Supported by Data (11/7/11)

The value of extra-pleural pneumonectomy (EPP) in the context of multimodality therapy for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma is controversial. Several phase 2 studies have been reported on the role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, EPP, and postoperative radiotherapy. In this article posted in The Lacent, the MARS trial attempted to assess the efficacy of the EPP.

Be sure to read Dr. Tom Treasure's response.

Worthington Continues to Back Meso Research with Donation to Pacific Meso Center (9/6/11)

Adding to his extensive philanthropic legacy, Roger Worthington, a leading attorney passionately representing mesothelioma victims, increased his PMC donation total to $275,000 this year alone.

"I am pleased to continue my support of research into new ways of combating this deadly disease," said Worthington, who has been representing meso patients since 1988. "Since vital government research dollars from the NIH and the Department of Defense have yet to materialize, and since the asbestos industry has failed to acknowledge let alone clean up their mess, now more than ever I'm urging my trial bar colleagues to join me and show their true concern for the welfare of their clients by supporting research in a meaningful way. We have a responsibility to work with our clients in the effort to fund medical research. " More...  

Diagnosis/Staging:

Electronic nose can discriminate exhaled air of patients with MPM from subjects with a similar long-term professional exposure to asbestos (11/14/11)

Molecular pattern recognition of exhaled breath can correctly distinguish patients with meso from subjects with similar occupational asbestos exposure without meso and from healthy controls. This suggests that "breathprints" obtained by electronic nose have diagnostic potential for meso. More...

Surgery:

Recommendations for Uniform Definitions of Surgical Techniques for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Extrapleural pneumonectomy has been well defined; however, surgeons vary regarding the surgical extent and goals of pleurectomy/decortication (P/D). Study explored mesothelioma surgeons' concepts of P/D with the aim of unifying surgical nomenclature and recommend that that P/D should aim to remove all macroscopic tumor involving the parietal and visceral pleura and should be termed "extended" P/D when the diaphragm or pericardium is resected. More... 

Chemotherapy/Drugs:

Novel Monoclonal Antibody Offers Potential Treatment for Tumors Resistant to VEGF Therapy

Study suggests that targeting a novel antiangiogenic receptor may help patients whose cancer does not respond to existing agents. One of the two patients with the best response had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. More...

Studies Highlight Limited Success of Mesothelioma Anti-Angiogenesis Drugs

Cediranib monotherapy has modest single-agent activity in mesothelioma after platinum-based systemic chemotherapy. However, some patient tumors were highly sensitive to cediranib. This study provides a rationale for further testing of cediranib plus chemotherapy in meso and highlights the need to identify a predictive biomarker for cediranib. More...

Paclitaxel-Loaded Expansile Nanoparticles in a Multimodal Treatment Model of Malignant Mesothelioma

Multimodal therapy was superior to no treatment or cytoreductive surgery alone in prolonging survival in mesothelioma. Treatment with Pax-eNP improved overall survival in the setting of cytoreductive surgery, suggesting that it merits further evaluation for intracavitary drug delivery following the surgical resection of malignant mesothelioma. More...