FROM THE HEADLINES: International Team from the University of Hawai’i Identifies Protein Critical in Development of Mesothelioma

Former Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s grant recipient, Dr. Haining Yang  (University of Hawai’i), is once again making news with the recent discovery of a protein that is activated following exposure to asbestos leading to the development of malignant mesothelioma.  As reported by MedicalXpress.com, Dr. Haining Yang, PhD, and an international team of researchers have identified HMGB1 as a critical protein in the development of malignant mesothelioma. Dr. Yang’s findings are the cover story of the July 1’s Cancer Research, one of the nation’s leading cancer research publications.

“We are very excited about this discovery and are extremely pleased that it was also chosen to be the featured cover story,” said Yang. “The next step is to translate this discovery into actual treatments for mesothelioma patients.”

This discovery into the growth of mesothelioma offers scientists an opportunity to develop specific therapies for mesothelioma patients. Mesothelioma, a malignant tumor of the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart known to be caused by exposure to asbestos is considered one of the most aggressive of all cancers. Approximately 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year, yet available treatments have limited effectiveness. Identifying this biomarker for early detection will help shed light on developing new treatments for mesothelioma prevention and therapy.

Earlier this year this same lab worked collaboratively with others to announce the first gene associated with malignant mesothelioma BAP1. Dr. Giovanni Gaudino from the University of Hawai’i will be discussing BAP1 and its possible utility as a target for therapy and identifying those at high risk to develop mesothelioma at the Meso Foundation’s 2012 Symposium during the “Demystifying Scientific Breakthroughs” panel. It is a very exciting time for mesothelioma research and the promise for further scientific breakthroughs will be the focus of discussion at the Symposium.

The current study was an international effort and included investigators from the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center, the John A Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu, the San Raffaele University and Research Institute in Milan, Italy, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and the New York University School of Medicine.

FROM THE HEADLINES: What the Supreme Court Decision and the ACA Mean to Mesothelioma Patients

Statement: Kathy Wiedemer, Executive Director, Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is pleased the Supreme Court has found the Affordable Care Act constitutional.  We have worked with other national health organizations to ensure the concerns of our patient and family caregiver communities addressed through the Act were upheld by the Court. The blog below will clarify many of the questions regarding the Act and how it will affect mesothelioma patients.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  By a vote of 5 to 4, the Court ruled that the law is constitutional.  Chief Justice Roberts (considered a conservative) joined the four liberal justices to uphold the law. A copy of the decision is available here.

You may wonder what this really means, and how will it affect meso patients.  In a nutshell, here is what happened…

The decision of the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate provision, which requires American citizens to be insured or subject to a penalty tax.  This means that the majority of citizens must either hold private health insurance, be covered under an employer-based health plan or be enrolled in a public plan such as Medicare or Medicaid. Those who are not covered under one of these programs will be subject to a tax. Whether and how this tax would be enforced is unclear, though the court was clear that it would be considered a tax like any other. Continue reading “FROM THE HEADLINES: What the Supreme Court Decision and the ACA Mean to Mesothelioma Patients” »

FROM THE HEADLINES: 2012 Symposium Speaker Dr. Raja Flores on the Lasting Toll of 9-11

Dr. Raja Flores, chief of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a featured speaker at our 2012 Symposium in Washington D.C., spoke to FoxNews.com about the adverse health effects some of those first responders have faced. The article reports that Mount Sinai researchers have been following approximately 30,000 first responders, many of whom were breathing in dust containing 2,000 tons of asbestos on a daily basis as they cleaned up the site. The researchers found 30 percent had problems with asthma, 40 percent had sinus problems, and another 40 percent had gastro-esophageal reflux, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.

You can also watch the accompanying video here.

If you want to hear more from Dr. Flores, make plans to join us at the 2012 Symposium on Thursday, July 12, (9:45 a.m. – 12:00 Noon) to participate in the panel “Demystifying Scientific Breakthroughs” panel. Along with Dr. Flores,  the latest in mesothelioma research will be presented by Stephen Hahn, MD, Raffit Hassan, MD, Robert Kratzke, MD, Harvey Pass, MD, Daniel Sterman, MD, David Sugarbaker, MD.

Click here to preview the 2012 Symposium agenda.

FROM THE HEADLINES: The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Appears before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations

Last week, on June 6, 2012, Mary Hesdorffer, MS, APRN, nurse practitioner and medical liaison for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations – Subcommittee on Defense, at their Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations Outside Witness Testimony Hearing. Speaking with the voice of the Meso Foundation and its community, Mary made an appeal to the lawmakers for their attention concerning mesothelioma and its impact on those who served to defend the United States.

The Meso Foundation played a critical role in making peritoneal mesothelioma and pleural mesothelioma eligible topics within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. The first ever DoD award for mesothelioma occurred in 2008 when one investigator obtained over $1.3 million for research. A total of $7.7 million has been awarded to mesothelioma research through the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program and the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, both divisions of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, which is administered by the Department of Defense since Fiscal Year 2008. Continue reading “FROM THE HEADLINES: The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Appears before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations” »

FROM THE HEADLINES: Photodynamic Therapy Added to Lung-Sparing Surgery Improves Survival for Mesothelioma Patients

The website Medical News Today recently released findings of a new treatment for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The treatment involves PDT (photodynamic therapy) conjunction with lung-sparing surgery. Results look promising in comparison to patients utilizing other mesothelioma treatment options. In this approach, provided the patient can keep both lungs after treatment, patients face better chances in combatting mesothelioma once it returns. Patient are given a photosensitive drug that cancer cells absorb, and then Fiber optics direct light onto the tumor site, which activates the drugs, and destroys the cancerous cells.

Leading this research from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, is Dr. Joseph Friedberg, MD. In this battle against mesothelioma, considered one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, Dr. Friedberg has stated, “While I don’t consider anything short of a cure as a victory against mesothelioma, I am encouraged by our results. Based on our new findings, we are redoubling our clinical and translational research efforts to find a way to further improve and refine this multimodality treatment approach for mesothelioma.” Continue reading “FROM THE HEADLINES: Photodynamic Therapy Added to Lung-Sparing Surgery Improves Survival for Mesothelioma Patients” »