Meso Foundation-Funded Study Published

Many of us donate to the Mesothelioma Foundation’s Research Grant Program and wonder ‘where do our dollars go, and does it make a difference”?  Today, I came across a study (listed below) published on PubMed, a medical search engine.  I am proud to announce that the Foundation funded this research and yes, it is having an impact in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.  Based on the results of this study the investigators were able to elicit an immune response in patients with malignant mesothelioma.  This was a small sample of patients (10) but this is where it all begins.  We will continue to track your research dollars and see that they are put to good use.  As I scroll through the medical literature I see many names familiar to the Foundation, both researchers that we have funded, past and present members of the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board.  We continue to have our fingers on the pulse of mesothelioma research and treatment, and strive to educate the public about current options as well as a pipeline into the future.

Consolidative Dendritic Cell-Based Immunotherapy Elicits Cytotoxicity Against Malignant Mesothelioma.

Hegmans JP, Veltman JD, Lambers ME, de Vries IJ, Figdor CG, Hendriks RW, Hoogsteden HC, Lambrecht BN, Aerts JG.

Pulmonary Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

RATIONALE: Earlier we have demonstrated that dendritic cell-based immunotherapy induced protective antitumor immunity with prolonged survival in mice. However, the clinical relevance is still questioned. We designed a clinical trial using chemotherapy followed by antigen-pulsed dendritic cell vaccination in mesothelioma patients OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the safety and immunological response induced by the administration of tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cells in mesothelioma patients. METHODS: Ten patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma received three vaccinations of clinical-grade autologous dendritic cells intradermally and intravenously at two-week intervals after chemotherapy. Each vaccine was composed of 50×10(6) mature dendritic cells pulsed with autologous tumor lysate and keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) as surrogate marker. Delayed-type hypersensitivity activity to tumor antigens and KLH was assessed, both in vivo and in vitro. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells during the treatment were analyzed for immunological responses. MAIN RESULTS: Administration of dendritic cells pulsed with autologous tumor lysate in mesothelioma patients was safe with moderate fever as the only side effect. There were no grade 3 or 4 toxicities associated with the vaccines or any evidence of autoimmunity. Local accumulations of infiltrating T cells were found at the site of vaccination. The vaccinations induced distinct immunological responses to KLH, both in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, after three vaccinations, cytotoxic activity against autologous tumor cells was detected in a subgroup of patients. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that autologous tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cell-based therapy is feasible, well-tolerated, and capable of inducing immunological response to tumor cells in mesothelioma patients.

~Mary Hesdorffer, NP

Click here to contact Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner or call 877.363.6376

Why is the Foundation a worthy recipient of your donation dollars for mesothelioma research?

I often receive phone calls from prospective donors asking me questions about the Foundation, to help them determine if the Foundation is a good organization to receive their donor dollars. Since the Meso Foundation takes a lot of pride in our accountability and transparency, I wanted to share with everybody why the Foundation is a great recipient of your donations.

To start, you should know that the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization. This means that the IRS has categorized us as a non-profit charity and that all gifts made to us are tax-deductible. Following the receipt of a gift of any size, we promptly generate a “thank-you” letter which also serves the donor as a tax receipt.

Giving to a non-profit organization should always be an informed decision. Learning about the organization’s work as well as its financial standing is a great step toward that. The Meso Foundation lists its Annual Reports on its website and you can download the most recent ones here. The Annual Report is generally a summary of the organization’s activity for a particular year, and it includes complete financial information about income and expenses.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is a member of the National Health Council Standards of Excellence Certification Program.  The National Health Council (NHC) has adopted a set of good operating practices to ensure that its patient advocacy group members (also known as voluntary health agencies) maintain the highest standards of organizational effectiveness and public stewardship. The standards cover the areas of governance, personnel policies, programs, fundraising, finance, accounting and reporting, and evaluation. These standards are completely aligned with, but more extensive than, the Standards for Charitable Accountability adopted by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (WGA).

The Meso Foundation has also been reviewed by independent charity evaluation organization and additional independent ratings and information are immediately available on the following organization’s websites: – Guidestar gathers and publicizes information about nonprofit organizations. They encourage nonprofits to share information about their organizations openly and completely. They combine the information that nonprofits supply with data from several other sources. -Charity Navigator has become the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. Their team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents. As a result, they know as much about the true fiscal operations of charities as anyone. Charity Navigator’s rating system examines two broad areas of a charity’s financial health — how responsibly it functions day to day as well as how well positioned it is to sustain its programs over time. Each charity is then awarded an overall rating, ranging from zero to four stars. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has been awarded four-stars by Charity Navigator. You can view our information on Charity Navigator here. – On much like Amazon book reviews or consumer reviews site (Epinions, Zagats, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.), the reviews and ratings are posted by people who have been touched by a nonprofit and want to share their story about it. You’ll see on our site stories of people who have volunteered for or donated to nonprofits and stories of people who have received services. You can read reviews about the Meso Foundation here.

I hope this was a helpful overview. If you should have any additional question, please don’t hesitate to call me. Thank you all for your attention.

Maja Belamaric
Outreach Director
Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
(877) 363-6376 ext. 7272

Eight Promising New Meso Research Grants Awarded – Thank You

Dear Friend,

I am writing you today to say “thank you.”

Whether you donated to us in 2009, sent an email to your representative to increase federal mesothelioma research funding, contacted radio stations for meso awareness day, forwarded our emails to your friends to spread the word, or volunteered to raise awareness and funds – we can’t thank you enough.

Your help and dedication are advancing the search for a cure!

Thanks to your generosity we have just funded eight promising new mesothelioma research projects. This is 60% more than we funded in 2008 and gets us almost back to our goal of ten per year. The exciting new projects include vaccine studies offering hope of targeted treatment without drastic side effects; a novel investigation of the role of hormones in mesothelioma treatment; developing pathway targets synergistic with current first-line therapy Alimta/Cisplatin; and a study specifically focused on improved detection and treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma. Click here to learn more about these eight innovative projects.

We look forward to your continued support and all that we can accomplish as we partner together in 2010 to cure mesothelioma.

Yours in hope,

Christopher E. Hahn
Executive Director

Health Insurance

Are you having trouble getting insurance to cover your treatment, laboratory or scans? If so the following article has some excellent pointers as to how to challenge your insurance company when it denies your care. Sometimes the problem can be easily rectified as in the case of clerical errors.  Check your hospital and medical bills as they have been found to be prone to error.  For those of you who have been through an appeal’s  process I would welcome posts about what has been denied and ultimately covered as well as what remains rejected under your current policies.  If you have supplemental insurance please share your opinions on the policies that you have selected.  I will continue to assist by sending you abstracts from medical journals for your appeal process should you need me to do so.

Here is the New York Times article -Fighting Denied Claims Requires Perseverance

~Mary Hesdorffer, NP

Click here to contact Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner or call 877.363.6376