Bowel Obstructions in Patients with Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Mary Hesdorffer, NPPatients with peritoneal mesothelioma appear to be at an increased risk of bowel obstructions either due to disease or perhaps as a consequence of their treatment. They can be caused by adhesions (scar tissue) and/or tumors among other predisposing conditions. Signs of a bowel obstruction include abdominal pain, cessation of bowel movement, absence of bowel sounds and inability to digest food.  Patients might also vomit fecal material.

Bowel obstructions are considered to be a medical emergency and require immediate attention. However, not all obstructions require surgery. Patients are often admitted to the hospital where they receive IV hydration. A nasal gastric tube is placed to remove stomach contents thus permitting the bowel to rest and inflammation to resolve on its own. Symptoms usually resolve 3-5 days following this intervention. In some cases it may be necessary to perform a surgical procedure to remove the mass or adhesion thus freeing the bowel to receive the necessary blood supply to remain healthy and functional. Patients with symptoms consistent with a bowel obstruction should contact their medical team immediately.

If a bowel obstruction is suspected, the patient will undergo a series of abdominal X-rays which can help diagnose an obstruction and determine if it is located in the large or small intestine.

Some symptoms of obstruction may lead to the diagnosis of an ileus, which is a functional obstruction caused by the absence of peristalsis, without a true blockage. It can be the result of narcotics or side-effect of some chemotherapeutic drugs or other administered medications. Sometimes medication to increase gastric motility can help in reversing this condition and surgery is usually not indicated in this situation. Patients are often discharged from the hospital with instructions to continue with regimens that will help to produce increased bowel evacuation.

For questions about treatment options, clinical trials, side-effect, or general support, patients are encouraged to contact Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner. Ms. Hesdorffer is the executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. She received her undergraduate degree at the College of New Rochelle in NY and went on to receive her Masters of Science at the same institution. She is fully credentialed as a nurse practitioner and has spent 16 years actively treating patients with mesothelioma.

Mary has an expertise in the development and implementation of clinical trials. She is published in peer-reviewed journals and has lectured nationally on topics pertaining to mesothelioma with particular emphasis on clinical trials as well as symptom and disease management.

Mary is a strong voice in urging increased transparency to the medical and legal issues surrounding mesothelioma with a strong emphasis on ethics.

She is passionate in her commitment to the treatment and management of this disease and hopes to increase awareness of the need to advance the science that will lead to a cure. She is available via phone or email to assist patients and caregivers as they regain control after being thrust into the chaos of this disease.

EPHB2 as a New Treatment Target for Mesothelioma

MesoSym-0150_smallLast week, the Journal of Thoracic Oncology published the results of a study looking into the overexpression of the ephrin B2 receptor (EPHB2) in patients with mesothelioma. The researchers at the New York University Langone Medical Center observed that EPHB2 is overexpressed in all malignant mesothelioma cell lines, but not in benign mesothelial cells. In addition, they found that silencing this receptor resulted in a significant increase in certain processes responsible for naturally ridding the body of old and defective cells (including cancerous ones).

The team of researchers who worked on this study includes Dr. Harvey Pass, one of the founders and a former board member of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. Dr. Pass has been a leader in the field of mesothelioma and a vocal advocate for mesothelioma patients.

“The mesothelioma community is looking for novel targets for therapy, and the data on the ephrins may provide an opportunity for this,” said Dr. Pass. “Certainly we also must expand our findings to elucidate the prognostic and predictive characteristics of this important pathway,” he added.

Support future research efforts. Donate to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation today.

Response to the Wall Street Journal Article “For One Asbestos Victim, Justice Is a Moving Target”

McQueensOn Monday, June 17, the Wall Street Journal Published the article “For One Asbestos Victim, Justice Is a Moving Target,” about Bill and Karen McQueen. Bill and Karen have been friends of the Foundation throughout Bill’s diagnosis and treatment, and we were deeply saddened by Bill’s recent passing.

What follows is the response submitted to the Wall Street Journal from the Meso Foundation’s executive director Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner.

Words cannot express the suffering that a diagnosis of mesothelioma inflicts upon a family. The McQueen family contacted us early in their struggle and together we researched their best options and provided support and guidance during their journey. The litigation issue is complex, and certainly outside of my area of expertise but I would like to refocus your attention on the lack of effective treatments to stop this disease in its tracks. Mesothelioma is acquired through exposure to asbestos. There is no disputing this. What we do not know is how to prevent this disease, or how to pick it up in its earliest stages when it might be more amendable to treatment. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (curemeso.org) focuses its energies on funding peer-reviewed research (grants totaling over $8.2 million to date) projects which focus on prevention, early detection, and treatment, as well as basic science, as there is much we have yet to learn about the natural history of mesothelioma. 

The Meso Foundation looks forward to the day when a full ban on asbestos will be inacted by the United States government. However, the Foundation also understands that no law can remove all asbestos from the environment, including asbestos naturally present in the ground, or asbestos present in the attics of over 30 million homes in the United States. Given the long latency period between exposure and disease development, even if a complete ban were inacted today, thousands of Americans would still be at risk for mesothelioma. For all those who have been exposed in the past and will be exposed in the future, research to find better treatments and a cure for mesothelioma is the only way to ensure that asbestos becomes less dangerous and less deadly.”

If you are passionate about raising mesothelioma awareness, join our cause today. Help make a difference in mesothelioma research and treatment by showing your support. Join our cause now.

Why the Foundation?

LogoBoxesRegisteredThe Meso Foundation realizes that there are numerous groups that you can affiliate with, provide your stories and attempt to raise awareness but it seems as if many are just going about this in the wrong way. To begin with, have you really looked into the Facebook pages or websites that you are supporting? Are they transparent in who they truly represent? Most often this is not the case.

The Foundation is your only 501(c)3 not-for-profit that is dedicated solely to finding a cure for mesothelioma. Our executive director and nurse practitioner, Mary Hesdorffer, is uniquely qualified to assist you in managing your disease and understanding all of the options that are available, be it a clinical trial or a more standard form of treatment. Mary spent years actively treating mesothelioma patients and writing clinical trials and papers that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. She understands the disease and brings a unique perspective to the Foundation both as a medical professional and patient advocate.

Patient advocate is a term that is widely used in mesothelioma, but who are these advocates? Who do they work for and what motivates them to advise you? Many nurses have been hired by legal entities but do you know that they have never worked in a mesothelioma clinic, and are trained in this disease by the law firm that surreptitiously pays their salary?

Hmmm… seems that we have some serious conflicts in this disease and it is about time that everyone takes a step back and thinks about what is truly best for the patient and the disease in general.

As the Meso Foundation is not a business model, we are not beholden to any institution or legal entity. We are independent and trustworthy which sets us apart from many of the “faces” you encounter on the web. Facebook is new to many of you and we ask that you think before you click the “Like” button, stop before you fill out an on-line form. Think. Where is your information going? Whose cause are you supporting?

You have more power than you realize and the capacity to effect change. We invite you to become more closely involved with the Meso Foundation, support our mission and assist us in getting unbiased information directly into the hands of those who are affected by this disease. We have a peer-reviewed research program where we provide grants which we hope one day will not only lead to more effective treatments but to a cure. We have testified before Congress multiple times. Through our direct advocacy efforts we have secured much needed federal funding for mesothelioma research. You can view this expert testimony here.

We invite you to visit our website www.curemeso.org, call us at 877-363-6376. If you’re on Facebook, please “Like” our Facebook page so you can receive the latest news about research, support, and advocacy. We are the real deal- we are your nonprofit and we need your support!

Research Funding and the Long Road to Drug Discovery

Here is a very interesting article about the man behind Alimta, the first FDA approved drug for mesothelioma treatment.  “His find became tumors’ nemesis”

This article highlights and confirms our need to continue to grow the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s Research Grant Program.  Through our proven peer-review process, we are able to identify the best possible projects and disperse funds quickly and efficiently.  Most recently, the fruits of our labor have become increasingly evident, as more clinical trials based on our basic lab funding are becoming available to mesothelioma patients. We are relying on your generous contributions to help us achieve the progress needed to help mesothelioma patients today.  To contribute, please contact our office at (877) 363-6376 (END-MESO) or visit our donation page.