In a little less than a month, we will be on the first stop of our 2018 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma tour! We are excited to gather with the mesothelioma community in Minneapolis for this one-day event on Friday, June 8 (our bereaved community should note that the next day, June 9, we will hold a Celebration of Life ceremony).
At the conference, our speakers will cover topics surrounding treatment, advances, clinical trials and support. In addition, we will hold an interactive community forum to provide everyone with an opportunity to participate in setting priorities at the Meso Foundation. See the full agenda here.
“At my first symposium I met people like me, their friends and families, their doctors and the researchers, as well as the foundation staff,” said Suellen Crano, a 17-year mesothelioma survivor and former board member of the Meso Foundation, who will be joining us at the Minneapolis conference. “But most importantly, I met hope! Hope that research was happening on this orphan cancer; hope that those who did not have medical contacts and connections would be connected with excellent contacts, and hope that those of us with the disease do not have to suffer alone.”
We have also secured an impressive group of speakers who are experts in the field of mesothelioma. This year’s speakers include:
|Tobias Peikert, MD - Mayo Clinic||Dr. Peikert is a consultant in the Departments of Medicine, Immunology and Molecular Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and holds the academic rank of Assistant Professor of Medicine. He is a previous V-Scholar and his current research program is centered on the potential therapeutic use of a modified vaccine strain measles virus (MV-NIS) for the treatment of mesothelioma. Dr. Peikert holds a K23 career development award from the National Cancer Institute and is the principal investigator of a phase 1 study exploring the safety of intrapleural administration of MV-NIS in mesothelioma.|
|Aaron Mansfield, MD - Mayo Clinic||Dr. Mansfield is a medical oncologist at Mayo Clinic and specializes in the treatment of thoracic malignancies, including mesothelioma. His research is focused on immunology, especially the study of T cells and immune checkpoints. His work has helped characterize the expression of PD-L1 in mesothelioma, including the heterogeneity and dynamics of its expression.|
|Mary Hesdorffer, NP - Meso Foundation||Mary Hesdorffer is the executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. Ms. Hesdorffer is a nurse practitioner by training, and holds a master’s degree in nursing from the College of New Rochelle. Ms. Hesdorffer has over 20 years of experience actively treating mesothelioma patients. She is also an expert in the development and implementation of clinical trials. She is a published author in numerous peer-reviewed journals and publications focusing on cancer research and, specifically, mesothelioma.|
|Jacob Strand, MD - Mayo Clinic||Dr. Strand is a general internist from the Section of Palliative Care Medicine at Mayo Clinic who focuses on advanced cancer pain management and integration of palliative medicine and oncology practices.|
|Muaiad Kittaneh, MD - Loyola University||Dr. Kittaneh is an oncologist who focuses both on treating patients with mesothelioma as well as pursuing research in this field. Prior to joining Loyola University, Dr. Kittaneh spent three years at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan.|
|Jason Foster, MD - University of Nebraska||Dr. Foster is a surgeon specializing in peritoneal mesothelioma. He is one of a very small number of surgical oncologists in the United States practicing HIPEC, also known as hot chemotherapy, which is used in treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma.|
|Kenneth Merrell, MD - Mayo Clinic||Dr. Merrell is an oncologist at Mayo Clinic and specializes in radiation oncology.|
|Arkadiusz Dudek, MD, PhD - University of Minnesota||Prof. Dudek serves as an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Clinical Trials Office in the Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation Division at the University of Minnesota. He has been published more than 100 times in peer-reviewed medical journals for his work in lung cancer, melanoma and kidney cancer.|
Another conference attendee is Kevin Connelly, whose father was affected by mesothelioma. The first time he attended a symposium, our experts provided him knowledge that helped him properly interact with his dad and his family. “Each patient is unique and reacts differently to the disease and treatment, so I really valued better understanding how the disease worked and what could be expected.”
The Symposium is geared to attendees from all walks of life — including patients and their families, advocates, medical professionals, and those who have lost loved ones to mesothelioma — and it provides a setting for all to learn, ask questions and meet others undergoing a similar experience.