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.

For Those Attending the Chicago Regional Conference on Friday

Chicago brochure coverWe’re so happy that you will be joining us this Friday, October 10th for the Chicago Regional Conference on Malignant Mesothelioma! In this blog post, you will find all of the information you will need to prepare for the conference.

The 2014 Chicago Regional Conference on Malignant Mesothelioma will take place on October 10, 2014 at the Palmer House Hilton at 17 E Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603. Registration will begin at 8:30AM in the Monroe Room and the conference will begin at 9:30AM.

8:30AM Registration & Breakfast Monroe Room
9:30AM First Session Begins Monroe Room
10:40AM Break Monroe Room
12:30PM Lunch Adams Room
5:00PM Cocktail Reception Adams Room

There is no dress code for this conference, and we encourage you to dress comfortably. You may want to check the weather for the day when deciding what to wear. The forecast is currently calling for a partly cloudy day with a high of 56 degrees and a low of 47 degrees.


Additional conference details can be found at

BREAKING NEWS: Mesothelioma Trial Results Show No Improvement in Overall Survival

Recent mesothelioma drug trials for CBP501 showed little improvements in the survival rates of patients with malignant mesothelioma.

In the July 5, 2014 edition of Lung Cancer, Dr. Lee Krug of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, who was the lead investigator of the CBP501 trial, reported that the trial was found not to improve overall survival in patients with malignant mesothelioma.

CBP 501 is a drug in that interrupts DNA repair of transformed cells. It was thought to add synergy to the combination of our first line therapy.

Cisplatin/pemetrexed coupled with a placebo or CBP501, at first glance, appeared to hold promise, having met their endpoint of progression-free survival at 4 months. However, in further evaluation, it was found not to increase overall survival or response rate.

Though we are disappointed to learn of these results, the science from this study nonetheless adds to our knowledge of this disease. We are grateful to all volunteers who participated, because only through a clinical trial are we able to learn what works and what doesn’t.

Read the abstract here.

Measles Virus Successfully Used to Treat Cancer

New study reports measles vaccine successfully eliminated cancer in one patient.It was recently reported that the Mayo Clinic has successfully used the measles vaccine to eliminate cancer in a patient enrolled in an experimental trial. The patient, 50-year-old Stacy Erholtz, was suffering from blood cancer, which had spread widely throughout her body, when she resorted to a clinical trial at the Mayo Clinic last June.

Erholtz’s cancer went into remission and became undetectable following a single, massive dose of the measles vaccine. Erholtz was injected with 100 billion infectious units of the measles virus. A typical dose contains only 10,000 infectious units of the virus. The virus works by attaching itself to tumors in the body and using them as hosts for replication, which eventually kills the cancer cells.

A similar experiment using the measles virus to treat mesothelioma is currently being conducted in a clinical trial by Dr. Tobias Peikert of the Mayo Clinic. The clinical trial uses the measles virus to attack mesothelioma cells in patients with pleural mesothelioma regardless of whether they have undergone prior therapy.

Dr. Peikert is using the same measles virus (MV-NIS) in his clinical trial that was used for Stacy Erholtz. Rather than an intravenous injection, however, patients in Dr. Peikert’s trial have the virus delivered into the pleural cavity. The dose used in the trial is also lower than that used for Erholtz.

“This is extremely exciting,” Dr. Peikert said in response to the successful use of the measles virus for Erholtz. “It is very encouraging to see a convincing clinical response to the virus, although one has to caution that thus far this represents a single case.” Dr. Peikert believes the dose of the virus will likely matter as future measles studies for mesothelioma are conducted.

The Meso Foundation held a previous Meet the Mesothelioma Experts podcast session with Dr. Tobias Peikert to discuss his measles virus clinical trial. You can listen to the session below.

Additionally, a video of Dr. Peikert’s panel from the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma can be viewed here.

Listen to more Meet the Mesothelioma Experts podcasts at and check back for information about upcoming sessions.

The FACT Act Statement

fact_act_voteOver the last few months, there has been a great deal of discussion about the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (H.R. 982) also known as the FACT Act. The FACT Act just passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 221-199.  The bill requires the existing asbestos trusts to file quarterly reports on the claims they have received.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, after difficult consideration, has chosen not to take an official stand on the FACT Act. Mary Hesdorffer, the executive director of the Foundation, and Melinda Kotzian, its chief executive officer, consulted the Foundation’s board of directors and its major supporters, and uniformly decided that the FACT Act falls outside of the mission of the Meso Foundation.

“We are a research foundation focused on developing effective treatments and a cure for mesothelioma,” stated Ms. Kotzian, “Taking a stand on legal issues falls outside our scope of work and outside of our expertise.” As it reads in our policy on litigation:

Our primary function is to support the health needs of the patient. Involvement in tort and litigation issues does not fall into this category, nor is it our area of expertise. For this reason, it is our position that we will abstain from commenting on or supporting legislation that does not directly address the health needs of mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. 

Read the full text of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s policy on litigation.

View the text of the bill, search HR 982 on Thomas:

See who voted / didn’t vote for the FACT Act: