ACTION ALERT: Request Support for Increased Research Funding

action_alertDear supporter of mesothelioma research.

We need your help!

In March, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) developed a formal letter requesting the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee dedicate $40 million for the Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) in the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill. The $40 million represents a $15 million increase over the 2014 level for the PRCRP. Mesothelioma is one of the cancers eligible to compete for funding under this program.

Since then, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a funding level of $50 million for the PRCRP, which would double the program’s 2014 level. Representative Maloney is now requesting that the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee agree to the Senate level for the program in conference on the final version of the Fiscal 2015 Defense Appropriations bill. This is the bill that will go to the President to be signed into law.

If the Congress agrees to the $50 million for the PRCRP, it would represent a significant increase in funding for all applicable cancers, including Defense-funded mesothelioma research.

A “Dear Colleague” email went out last week, urging support. So far, the letter has been signed by Representatives Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Sander Levin (D-MI), and Collin Peterson (D-MN). Additional support for this is critical!

Please take a moment to contact your House representative to request they sign on.

Look up your elected officials’ phone numbers.

Here is what you say:

Hi, my name is _________ and I am a constituent of Congressman/woman _________. I am calling to request for your boss to sign on to a Dear Colleague letter circulated by Congresswoman Maloney in support of $50 million in cancer research funding in the defense budget that has already been passed by the Senate committee.

Thank you!

The Meso Foundation Congratulates Dr. Hassan for Prestigious Award

Hassan_WagnerAwardThe Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation congratulates Dr. Raffit Hassan of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on receiving the prestigious Wagner Award at this year’s International Mesothelioma Interest Group’s (iMig) meeting.

Raffit Hassan, MD, is an Investigator and Chief of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Section in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Hassan is a medical oncologist whose laboratory and clinical research is focused on developing novel therapies for the treatment of mesothelioma. His work and collaborations have shown that mesothelin, a tumor antigen that was discovered at the NCI, is a useful target for tumor-specific therapy of malignant mesothelioma. His group is presently conducting clinical trials of three different agents targeting mesothelin namely, SS1P, an anti-mesothelin immunotoxin, MORAb-009, a chimeric anti-mesothelin monoclonal antibody, and CRS-207, a mesothelin tumor vaccine.

Dr. Hassan served on the Meso Foundation’s Science Advisory Board for nearly a decade and for three years was the chair of the board. The Meso Foundation is grateful for all of his contributions to the field of mesothelioma.

The Wagner Award is named after J. Christopher Wagner, who was a leader in the field of mesothelioma by making major contributions to the understanding of mesothelioma, its cause and the goals for prevention. Wagner was the first to establish the connection between mesothelioma and asbestos.The Wagner award is presented every two years to an individual who has made major original contributions to the understanding of mesothelioma, either in basic or applied research.

Previous recipients include Drs. Joseph Testa, Stephen Albelda, Brooke Mossman, Harvey Pass, Bruce Robinson, and Marie-Claude Jaurand.

This year’s award was presented to Dr. Hassan by Dr. Steven Mutsaers.

Wednesday Update from iMig Conference

Mary Hesdorffer, NP, the executive director of the Meso Foundation is in attendance at the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig) conference in Cape Town, South Africa. Mary has sent the following photo updates from Wednesday at the conference.

Cocktail Reception

The entertainment at the cocktail reception.

Dario Barbone, PhD

Dario Barbone, PhD, shared that he will be submitting a grant for consideration to the NCI next week. He credits the Meso Foundation’s grant for providing the funding that permitted him to carry out experiments from which the resulting data can be used in applying for larger grants. We will continue to update you on the careers of these young scientists who are the future of mesothelioma research.

Joe Friedberg and Melissa Culligan

Joe Friedberg, MD, and Melissa Culligan, BSN, RN, are in attendance.

Melissa Culligan

Melissa Culligan, BSN, RN, was the only nurse invited to present in the surgical session. Congratulations for a thoughtful presentation.

David Schrump, MD

David Schrump, MD, head of the Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Oncology Branch at the National Cancer Institute, seen during the poster discussion session.

Mary Hesdorffer to Present at iMig Conference This Week

Mary Speaking at 2013 SymposiumMary Hesdorffer, MS, APRN-BC, the executive director of the Meso Foundation, will be presenting at the 12th International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig) Conference in Cape Town, South Africa this week. iMig is an international group of scientists and clinicians working to understand, cure, and prevent mesothelioma. iMig presents an important conference that brings together mesothelioma professionals from around the world to discuss the current state of research and advancements in the field.

Mary is chairing a nursing panel and she will give two presentations at the conference. The first presentation, titled “The Voice of the Meso Community in the United States,” will discuss how the Meso Foundation, with the help of community members, advocated for $9.3 million in federal research funding directed to mesothelioma research since 2008. Mary’s second presentation is title “Promoting Entry into Clinical Trials and Improving Access to Specialist Treatment and Care.”

Mary is a nurse practitioner with over 16 years of experience in mesothelioma treatment. She is an expert in clinical trials for mesothelioma and her work has been published in a variety of scientific journals. Mary serves as the executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

Chicago Conference Photos Now Available

Panel at Chicago ConferenceThe 2014 Chicago Regional Conference on Malignant Mesothelioma was held on Friday, October 10 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Illinois. The conference was a collaborative effort between the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and The University of Chicago Medicine.

Topics of discussion were presented by area experts in the field of mesothelioma and geared towards patients, caregivers, family members, and general health practitioners. These topics included imaging, genetics, surgery, chemotherapy, novel treatments, stem cells, immunotherapy, and resources for patients and families.

The conference was chaired by Mary Hesdorffer, MS, APRN-BC, the executive director of the Meso Foundation, and Hedy Lee Kindler, MD, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago and Director of the mesothelioma and Gastrointestinal Oncology Programs at the University of Chicago Medicine.

All of the Meso Foundation’s photos from the Chicago conference are now available on the Foundation’s Facebook page.