Meso Foundation Receives 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

4Star 125x125Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, has awarded the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) the prestigious 4-star rating for good governance, sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. The Meso Foundation is currently the only mesothelioma charity in the United States with such a rating.

Since 2002, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. The Accountability & Transparency metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities have “best practices” that minimize the chance of unethical activities and whether they freely share basic information about their organization with their donors and other stakeholders.

“In the field of mesothelioma, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain which organizations are actual charities and which ones merely serve the purpose of marketing legal services,” said Mary Hesdorffer, NP, the executive director of the Meso Foundation. “Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters that we take our fiduciary and governance responsibilities very seriously and that we are an ethical charity working hard to fulfill its mission to find a cure for mesothelioma and end the suffering caused by it.”

The Meso Foundation’s coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high-performing charities,” according to Ken Berger, President and CEO, Charity Navigator. “Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, only one out of four earns 4 stars — a rating that, now, with our new Accountability and Transparency metrics, demands even greater rigor, responsibility and commitment to openness. The Meso Foundation’s supporters should feel much more confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when it acquires such a high rating.”

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s rating and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge on http://www.charitynavigator.org.

Senator Chuck Schumer Thanks the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation for its Work

At this year’s Meso Foundation Symposium, Senator Chuck Schumer, along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congressman Peter T. King, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez, Congressman Michael G. Grimm and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, was this year’s recipient of the Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award.

The award, presented annually at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s Symposium and named for the late Minnesota Congressman who died from mesothelioma in 2000, acknowledges the support and initiatives of advocates whose work helps to eradicate mesothelioma and eliminate the suffering caused by it.

During the presentation of awards, Sen. Schumer spoke to the Meso Foundation constituents and thanked them for their important work in eradicating mesothelioma and ending the suffering caused by it.

Watch the Senator’s remarks here:

This bipartisan, bicameral group of New York legislators sponsored the original James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (HR 847) to amend the Public Health Service Act to extend and improve protections and services to individuals directly impacted by the terrorist attack in New York City on September 11, 2001, and for other purposes. This amendment added mesothelioma as a disease covered by the act.

GUEST POST: An ASCO Update from Dr. Lee M. Krug, MD

The Meso Foundation is happy to present this special guest blogpost from Lee M. Krug, MD, Associate Attending Physician in the Division of Thoracic Oncology, Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York and Director of the Mesothelioma Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Krug has investigated multimodality approaches for patients with early stage malignant pleural mesothelioma, has led a multicenter U.S. trial of induction chemotherapy before extrapleural pneumonectomy, and has a current study testing the feasibility of chemotherapy followed by pleural radiation. Dr. Krug also has a strong interest in novel therapeutics for patients with more advanced disease, and is the principal investigator of an international, phase III trial of a histone deacetylase inhibitor, vorinostat. Dr. Krug led the committee for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) that established treatment guidelines for mesothelioma, and is currently the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board and serves on the Board of Directors at the Meso Foundation.

The Annual Meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) was held in Chicago, IL from June 1-5, 2012. This is the largest meeting in oncology each year with over 25,000 attendees from all over the world. Several abstracts of interest to mesothelioma were presented, so I thought I would summarize the results of a few of the most interesting:

Randomized Phase II Trial of Pemetrexed/Cisplatin with or without CBP501 in Patients with Advanced Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: CBP501 is a novel compound that enhances the ability of cisplatin to damage cancer cells. In this international trial, patients received treatment with standard chemotherapy (pemetrexed and cisplatin), or they received it in combination with CBP501. 63 patients participated in total; 40 were in the group with CBP501. The only additional side effect of CBP501 seemed to be a rash that occurred during the infusion. Forty percent of the patients who received chemotherapy plus CBP501 had tumor shrinkage as compared to 17% of the patients who received chemotherapy alone. The average time before the cancer grew back was 5.9 months in the CBP501 arm, and 4.7 months in the other arm. Although the patients who received chemotherapy alone fared less well than expected, the results seemed encouraging. Another similar trial with CBP501 has also been conducted in lung cancer and until those results become available later this year, plans for future trials are unclear. Continue reading “GUEST POST: An ASCO Update from Dr. Lee M. Krug, MD” »