Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization unveils findings of asbestos in everyday products

September 28, 2007

For Immediate Release

MEDIA ADVISORY

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization Unveils Findings of Asbestos in Everyday Products

Products Containing Asbestos Include Children’s Toys, Appliances, Hardware & Household Goods and Home & Garden Items

WHO: The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) featuring expert speakers:

Sean Fitzgerald, President, Scientific Analytical Institute, Inc.
Richard A. Lemen, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., Former Deputy Director and Acting Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS (ret.), Rear Admiral, USPHS (ret.)
Linda Reinstein, Co-Founder and Executive Director, ADAO

WHAT: Press Conference to Unveil Research Findings on Products Containing Asbestos

ADAO and guest experts will discuss landmark findings from ADAO and the Scientific Analytical Institute that reveal asbestos in everyday products including children’s toys, appliances, hardware & household goods and home & garden items. The findings, the first in a series of test results, will include specific product examples, analyses on the dangers of asbestos exposure, and the new, younger profile of asbestos victims. ADAO has been working with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and other key members of Congress to implement a full ban on asbestos. The occurrence of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, is growing out of control. Studies estimate that during the next decade, 100,000 victims in the United States will die of an asbestos related disease annually – equaling 30 deaths per day.

WHERE: National Press Club
Holeman Lounge
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045

WHEN: Friday, October 5, 2007
10:00 am – 11:00 am EDT

CONTACT: Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)
Douglas Larkin
Office: 703-250-3590 x1245
Mobile: 202-391-1546
doug@AsbestosDiseaseAwareness.org

# # #

Editors and Reporters – Note: Experts are available for one-on-one interviews immediately following the press conference.

About Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims a united voice to help ensure that their rights are fairly represented and protected, and raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the often deadly asbestos related diseases. ADAO is funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by volunteers. For more information visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.

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Mesothelioma science news

September 28, 2007

San Pedro, CA – September 27, 2007

1. Pleural biopsy using thoracoscopy is less efficient at determining whether the mesothelioma subtype is epithelial or biphasic. Link here.

2. Coast Guard shipyard workers show higher rates of cancer, mesothelioma. Link here.

3. A growth factor secreted by stem cells increases the viability of malignant mesothelioma cells, and research on a particular feedback pathway may help explain how this growth factor affects mesothelioma and other tumors. Link here.

4. Mesothelioma deaths in Spain will increase at least until 2016, and data do not allow a prediction of the year mortality will start decreasing. Link here.


National mesothelioma awareness day

September 26, 2007

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — September 26th marks national Meso Awareness Day. Meso, short for mesothelioma, is a lethal, extremely painful cancer in which membrane cells lining the chest or abdomen become malignant. The resulting tumor thickens and hardens, crushing the lungs and suffocating the patient, invading the chest wall so that even breathing is excruciating, or invading the heart, aorta or other vital organs and causing catastrophic failure. Average prognosis is only 4 – 14 months.

Meso is caused by exposure to asbestos, identified by the EPA as “one of the most hazardous substances to which humans are exposed in both occupational and non-occupational settings.” For decades, even after its deadly toxicity were well known to medicine, industry and the government, asbestos was used heavily in construction, industry, the Navy, even household products and appliances. It is still present in many homes, schools, and office buildings. Indeed, it is not yet even banned in the U.S. The disease can arise from small exposures, and even as much as 50 years later.

As a result, each year approximately 3,000 Americans and many thousands more worldwide develop mesothelioma. According to the EPA, over 20 million American workers suffered dangerous exposures and are at risk today of developing meso. The recent events of 9/11 and Katrina have exposed countless more, especially the heroic rescue workers and first-responders. During the collapse of the WTC towers, at least 400 tons of asbestos were released into the air in lower Manhattan.

Despite the risk and tragic toll of the disease, for decades the need for research to develop effective treatments for meso was ignored, obscured by the legal, economic and political aspects of asbestos. The National Cancer Institute’s annual investment in clinical mesothelioma research has been, on a per death basis, only a fraction of its investment in other cancers. And, despite the disproportionate toll of the disease on Navy veterans and shipyard workers, the Department of Defense has never applied any of its vast biomedical research resources to mesothelioma.

As a result, research to understand meso has lagged far behind other cancers. Diagnosis is difficult and often delayed. Worse, once diagnosed, current attempts to treat the disease generally have only a limited effect. In 1980, when Steve McQueen was diagnosed with meso, the lack of effective treatment options caused him to turn in desperation to untested treatments in Mexico, where he died, eleven months after diagnosis. Twenty-three years later, when acclaimed singer-songwriter Warren Zevon was diagnosed, relatively little progress had been made, and Zevon died in 2003, one year after diagnosis.

But there is hope. Since 1999, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) has awarded over $4 million to spur mesothelioma research forward. Researchers are gaining valuable understandings of the tumor and potential treatment targets, and new clinical trials are opening. Therefore, the Meso Foundation is calling for support of legislation proposed by Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Betty McCollum to finally ban asbestos, and for the federal government to invest in meso research.

To raise national awareness of the risks of the disease and the need for research to develop treatments for it, the Meso Foundation has launched a campaign with radio stations around the country to play music of Warren Zevon followed by a public service announcement recorded by his son Jordan Zevon. Says Executive Director, Chris Hahn, “Warren’s music has touched generations and now it will have even greater impact as it works to raise awareness of mesothelioma.”

The Meso Foundation is the non-profit collaboration of patients and families, physicians, advocates, and researchers dedicated to eradicating the life-ending and vicious effects of mesothelioma. The Foundation promotes critically-needed research to develop more effective treatments and ultimately a cure and has to date awarded over $4 million in grant funding to promising studies around the world.

For more information and to find out how you can help, please visit http://www.curemeso.org

CONTACT: Chris Hahn Executive Director, 805-563-8400, chahn@curemeso.org


Proud of being poisoned? Drop the state rock

September 26, 2007

San Pedro, CA – September 25, 2007

A symbol is a powerful thing. Gold for California has represented wealth, hope, promise, sunshine, and the bright allure of a better life in the West. Symbols can just as easily demean and destroy. Whether it’s the twisted cross that adorned the flag of Nazi Germany or the stars-and-bars of the Confederacy that flies over Mississippi, symbols can communicate contempt and disrespect with ease.

Tens of thousands of Californians have died, and thousands continue to die from asbestos. Yet those who suffer from asbestos poisoning must also endure the fact that the state of California demeans their plight by heralding asbestos ore as its state rock. If the legislature could take the time in 1965 to pass such frivolous legislation at the behest of the asbestos industry–at a time when the industry knew of asbestos’s dangers but criminally concealed it from workers and their families–then our legislators can step forward to erase this demeaning symbol.

In the last week our law firm and the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blook Institute met with assembly member Betty Karnette, assembly floor majority leader Karen Bass, state senator Jenny Oropeza, assembly member Mike Davis, and assembly member Mike Feuer to discuss this important issue.

Please take a moment to call and thank these concerned and hard-working legislators for listening to asbestos victims and their families, and encourage them to sponsor or vote for legislation that will strip the insipid and insulting “state rock” from the laws of California. With so many pressing and complex issues facing Californians today, this simple symbolic step will let asbestos victims know that they are not alone and put California back in the front ranks as a state committed to the public health of its citizens.

Assembly member floor majority leader Karen Bass
5750 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 565
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 937-4747

Assembly member Betty Karnette
461 West 6th Street, Suite 306
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 548-6420

State senator Jenny Oropeza
2512 Artesia Blvd., #200
Redondo Beach, CA
90278-3279
(310) 318-6994

Assembly member Mike Davis
700 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037
(213) 744-2111

Assembly member Mike Feuer
9200 Sunset Boulevard, PH 15
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 285-5490

Learn more about the effort to eliminate asbestos ore as California’s state rock by visiting:
Mesothel.com state rock campaign
Phlbi.org state rock campaign
Drop the rock! petition site

Law Office of Roger G. Worthington, P.C.
1-800-831-9399


Pemextrexed shows promise in peritoneal mesothelioma

September 25, 2007

By Jill Stein

BARCELONA, SPAIN — September 24, 2007 — Pemetrexed alone or in tandem with a platinum agent shows good overall response and disease control rates in patients with peritoneal mesothelioma (PM), according to data presented here at the 14th European Cancer Conference (ECCO).

The study enrolled 109 patients with a histologic or cytologic diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma that was not amenable to curative surgery and was treated with pemextrexed alone or in combination with a platinum agent.

“Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare cancer, with a yearly incidence of about one or two cases per million in the U.S. and Europe, while the incidence of pleural mesothelioma is 3- to 30-fold higher in different countries, said study presenter Giacomo Carteni, MD, Director, Oncology Division, Cardarelli Hospital, Naples, Italy.

Few large studies have examined peritoneal mesothelioma, so treatment has largely been based on protocols used in patients with pleural mesothelioma, Dr. Carteni said in his poster presentation on September 24th.

The international Expanded Access Program (EAP) for pemetrexed in mesothelioma provided access to the drug before and during review by regulatory agencies.

In the trial, pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 alone or in combination with cisplatin 75 mg/m2 or carboplatin AUC 5 was given on day 1 of each 21-day treatment cycle as part of the EAP. All patients received standard supplementation with vitamin B12 and folic acid, and dexamethasone for prophylaxis.

Patients were treated until they developed progressive disease or unacceptable toxicity, or until the investigator or patient decided to halt treatment.

Pemetrexed and platinum combination was associated with a 20% or greater response rate and a 76% or greater disease control rate.

Patients in the single-agent platinum group had a 12.5% overall response rate, a 50% disease control rate, and a 41.5% survival rate at 1 year. “This is in line with their worse prognostic factors like higher median age, higher percent of patients who had undergone prior chemotherapy, and lower performance status at baseline,” Dr. Carteni said.

Hematologic toxicity was manageable in all groups and in agreement with earlier phase 3 findings, he said.

These results reported for peritoneal mesothelioma are comparable to the pemetrexed EAP in the U.S., which involved 98 patients with peritoneal mesothelioma. In that report, the overall response rate was 26% and median survival exceeded 13 months.

The study was sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company.

[Presentation title: Open-Label Study of Pemetrexed (P) Alone or in Combination With a Platinum in Patients With Peritoneal Mesothelioma (PM): Results From the International Expanded Access Program. Abstract P-6571]


Mesothelioma science wrap-up

September 24, 2007

San Pedro, CA – September 18, 2007

1. Two substances that induce cell death in pleural mesothelioma are promising candidates for local treatment within multimodality treatment plans. Link here.

2. Anti-mesothelin immunotoxin shows promise and is slated for Phase II clinical trial for mesothelioma patients. Link here.

3. Using thoracoscopy under local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia is recommended as a diagnostic procedure for cases with pleural diseases. Link here.

4. The export of Canadian asbestos to developing countries sets the stage for another preventable occupational disease epidemic that will manifest over the coming decades. Link here.

5. Mesothelioma increasing in Australia, along with the mean latency and number of “non-occupational” cases. Link here.

6. Radiotherapy and intraperitoneal paclitaxel suitable in palliative settings to improve the quality of life in advanced peritoneal mesothelioma. Link here.

7. Phase II testing of sunitinib, an inhibitor that affects tumour proliferation and angiogenesis in cancers including mesothelioma. Link here.

8. Disrupting angiogenesis mediated by malignant mesothelioma cells. Link here.

9. Possible chemotherapy role for activated and latent signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 in mesothelioma cases. Link here.

10. Phase II trials planned for recombinant anti-mesothelin immunotoxin for malignant mesothelioma patients. Link here.

11. Serum mesothelin is a promising marker for the diagnosis, prognosis, and clinical monitoring of malignant mesothelioma. Link here.

12. Multivitamin/mineral supplement use and its effect on cancer prevention. Link here.

13. Pericardial mesothelioma patient with metastases to liver responds well to pemetrexed and carboplatin-based combination chemotherapy. Link here.

14. Combination of radiotherapy and intraperitoneal paclitaxel suitable in palliative settings aimed at improving the quality of life. Link here.

15. Flow cytometric immunophenotyping is an effective method for characterizing cancer cells in clinical effusion specimens and is comparable to immunohistochemistry in terms of sensitivity and specificity. Link here.

16. Intraoperative chemotherapy with heat benefits patients with peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma. Link here.


Nikos Hontzeas Joins Fight against Asbestos Cancer

September 24, 2007

San Pedro, CA – September 12, 2007

Nikos Hontzeas lost his mother to mesothelioma when he was ten years old. The doctors first misdiagnosed her with pneumonia, a mistake that still occurs with alarming frequency due to mesothelioma’s relative rarity. This traumatic experience shaped Nikos’s life as he felt the ravages of the disease at an early age.

Nikos dedicated his life to cancer research after his father died from colon cancer, and his wife’s brush with ovarian cancer continued to drive home what everyone knows: not enough is being done quickly enough.

The Pacific Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has hired Nikos as part of its research team. As a post-doctoral research associate at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, Nikos has worked on cancer-related research projects at UCLA since 2005. He joined PHLBI because, in his words, “Dr. Cameron is realistic about the possibilities with mesothelioma research, he has a fantastic approach. He’s doing this out of his own drive and passion because it’s the right thing to do. It really makes me feel good about working here.”

Nikos was also impressed by the survival times of Dr. Cameron’s mesothelioma patients, up to 5 years in some cases, and the focus on quality of life as well as quantity of life. By pursuing a combination of therapies to extend life, from cell studies to mouse studies, and eventually to clinical trials, Nikos believes that much can be accomplished.

Nikos’s father was a violinist, composer, and the head of a conservatory in Montreal. His mother was an accomplished flute player. As a violinist himself, with an abiding love for classical music, Nikos brings an interest in culture as well as science to his work.

 “It’s amazing that so many people who’ve lost someone donate money to this cause, but seeing the generosity of people like Dr. Cameron and those who are in a position to help actually doing so, is wonderful,” Nikos says.