Hypnosis Therapy may Decrease Fatigue in Mesothelioma Patients

RelaxationIt was recently reported that a clinical trial that randomized patients to receive hypnosis and cognitive therapy had a statistically significant reduction in their fatigue levels as compared to 79 percent of patients who did not have this intervention. The sudy was led by Guy Montgomery, PhD, Director of the Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Two hundred breast cancer patients who were undergoing radiation therapy were eligible to participate in this study. It was unusual to find that six months after the completion of radiation therapy, the intervention group reported less fatigue than 95% of the control group (patients who did not receive hypnosis and cognitive therapy). Mesothelioma patients often receive radiation therapy following the completion of an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) or a Pleurectomy Decortication (PD). Though there are no studies currently underway in mesothelioma, it seems reasonable that patients who will be undergoing surgery plus radiation should be put in touch with integrative medicine to ascertain what services might be available to them.

A few years back, we invited a hypnotherapist to conduct a workshop at the Meso Foundation’s Symposium to aid the community in banishing negative thoughts usually implanted during the initial diagnosis when they were informed of the disease and prematurely provided with a prognosis from a doctor unfamiliar with mesothelioma. A positive outlook certainly does not cure the disease, but patients who are positive tend to eat better, engage with others, and less often fall victim to depression, which could impact their ability to function.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2014; doi:10.1200/JCO.2013.49.3437

The 2014 Symposium Has Begun!

Advocates for Mesothelioma are gathered for the 2014 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma

The 2014 Meso Foundation’s International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma began yesterday in Washington, DC. Yesterday, attendees spent the day on Capitol Hill advocating for federal involvement in mesothelioma research.

Today, March 6, attendees have been listening to a variety of speakers and have been learning about topics such as cancer stem cells, pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, novel therapeutics, chemotherapy, early detection, etc…

The Symposium is also available via live stream to those unable to travel. Click here to learn more about the symposium and watch the live stream

Recipient of the Outstanding Nurse Award Announced

Anne AlessandriniWe are excited to announce that the 2014 recipient of the Meso Foundation’s June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar Outstanding Nurse Award is Anne Alessandrini of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

At the start of 2014, the Meso Foundation introduced the June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar Outstanding Nurse Award, named in memory of two courageous women and nursing professionals who battled mesothelioma. As members of the Meso Foundation’s Board of Directors, June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar both cherished the meso community and worked diligently to raise awareness and research funds to win the war on mesothelioma. With this award, we honor an individual in the nursing profession who exhibits an optimistic, determined, and generous spirit reflective of both June and Jocelyn. You can learn more about the award, and June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar on our website.

Upon announcing the award, we began seeking a recipient through a nomination process. Meso Foundation community members submitted nominations for nurses who positively impact their lives. After receiving numerous nominations, we narrowed down the pool to six finalists. We then let the community decide on the winner through a voting process. We provided short biographies for each finalist and asked the community to vote for the nurse who they thought should receive the Outstanding Nurse Award. After receiving hundreds of votes, we had our winner: Anne Alessandrini.

Anne began her career in the nursing profession as a full-time nursing assistant in the Thoracic Intensive Care Unit (ICU) while she put herself through nursing school full time on nights and weekends. In December of 2007, she graduated from Lawrence Memorial/Regis College School of Nursing and began her career working in cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. After a year and a half, Anne decided to return to the Thoracic ICU at Brigham and Women’s, and this is where she continues her career today. Aside from her work in the Thoracic ICU, Anne works with a Nursing Liaison group conducting follow-up appointments in the homes of mesothelioma patients. Anne enjoys working with this unique patient population and as she states, “I feel privileged to be allowed into peoples’ lives during such a vulnerable time.” Anne’s passion and positive attitude is evident as she continues, “Every day I try to bring a smile to my patients and their families. I enjoy the challenges of each and every day working in the Thoracic ICU. The best part is getting to know who people really are, not just a diagnosis or medical record number, but the actual person.” She also expresses the fulfilment she finds in “watching the patients progress knowing that even when they may doubt themselves, I can help push them to accomplish their goals.”

The June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar Outstanding Nurse Award will be presented at the Meso Foundation’s Awards Dinner on March 6, 2014 as part of the Foundation’s International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma. The Symposium will be held from March 5th through 7th in the Washington, DC metro area. For more details, visit our Symposium page.

Dr. David Sugarbaker’s Move to Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Sugarbaker with Meso Foundation's executive director, Mary Hesdorffer, receiving the Pioneer Award at 2012 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma.

Dr. Sugarbaker with Meso Foundation’s executive director, Mary Hesdorffer, receiving the Pioneer Award at 2012 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation congratulates Dr. David Sugarbaker on his new role as Director of the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine and Chief of Thoracic Surgery in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery. He steps down as Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital effective April 30.

Dr. Sugarbaker is a member of the Meso Foundation’s Science Advisory Board and is a very well known surgeon within the mesothelioma community and beyond.

Dr. Sugarbaker attended Wheaton College in Wheaton Illinois and then went on to attend Cornell University Medical College in New York. He completed his residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and his cardiothoracic training at the Toronto General Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Following his training in Toronto in 1988, Dr. Sugarbaker return to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston appointed as Chief of the newly formed Division of Thoracic Surgery.

The Division of Thoracic Surgery has grown to one of the largest in the nation performing over 3700 cases/year with 14 staff surgeons and 3 research associates. Dr. Sugarbaker pioneered the technique of extrapleural pneumonectomy and its application to patients with mesothelioma. He has developed innovative multimodality therapies and directed translation research programs in this disease that are known worldwide. He is Founder and Director of the International Pleural Mesothelioma Program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. During Dr. Sugarbaker’s tenure at the Harvard Medical School, he has had the opportunity of mentoring many residents both in the General Surgery Program and the Cardiothoracic Program. Dr. Sugarbaker is well known both on a national and international level. He travels extensively being invited to lecture at various hospitals, society and association meetings here in the United States, Europe, Japan, China and Australia. Dr. Sugarbaker has published extensively in all the top journals and textbooks.

Meso Foundation Awards Half Million Dollars to Mesothelioma Research

DNA-SmallToday, all of us at the Meso Foundation are extremely excited to share with you the 2013 grant awardees. The peer-review process is now complete, and the top five projects will receive a total funding of $500,000. With the completion of the 2013 grant process, the Meso Foundation’s total funding awarded to mesothelioma research is now $8.7 million!

The grant application process began in April of 2013 and yielded 49 research proposals in the area of mesothelioma research. The Foundation’s Science Advisory Board, which is comprised of 18 world-renowned mesothelioma experts, evaluated and ranked all proposals through a peer-review process modeled after the National Cancer Institute. The top five proposals to come out of this intense peer-review process will receive funding of $100,000 each for a total of half a million dollars.

The grant recipients include Marc De Perrot, MD, of the University Health Network for his project “Optimizing the radiation approach to mesothelioma with immunotherapy”; Christian Ottensmeier of the University of Southampton for his project “Evaluating the effect of immunity on outcomes of patients with mesothelioma”; Tao Dao, MD, PhD, of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for his project “Specific immunotherapy for mesothelioma by use of bi-specific TCR-like antibody“; Usha Pendurthi, PhD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler for her project “Endothelial Cell Protein C Receptor Attenuates Mesothelioma Progression”; and Elisa Giovannetti, MD, PhD, of the VU University Medical Center for her project “Novel lactate dehydrogenase inhibitors for the treatment of mesothelioma.”

The focus of the five projects is varied, as they all attempt to combat mesothelioma through different mechanisms. One of the projects, in particular, seeks to demonstrate that combining immunotherapy with ‘high intensity/fewer doses of radiation’ (which alone appear to have immunotherapeutic effects), increases tumor reduction compared to each therapy alone. Another project funded seeks to target a protein receptor in the mesothelioma cells that regulates the life cycle of the cell itself, the purpose of which is to stop tumor growth.

As Mary Hesdorffer, NP, states, “All five of these projects are remarkable and hold much promise in their ability to add to our currently limited arsenal for treating mesothelioma.” She speaks for everyone at the Meso Foundation as she continues, “I am very proud of the life-saving work our mesothelioma researchers are doing.”

For complete descriptions of the funded projects, visit curemeso.org/grants2013.