Ban asbestos legislation likely dead for this session

October 18, 2008

Despite concerted efforts by advocates for a ban on asbestos, the House’s companion bill to its Senate ban counterpart never made it out of subcommittee. Now that Congress has adjourned and the session is over, the only chance for the bill’s resurrection is a lame duck session by Congress, which neither looks likely nor, even if it happens, expected to get the ban bill back on track.

Advocates hope that when Congress reconvenes in 2009, hopefully with a crushing Democratic majority in the House and a bulletproof, veto-proof majority in the Senate led by a charismatic Democratic president, the legislation will be brought back from the dead.

After more than 19 years of waiting, it’s more than time–it’s a tragedy.

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Fred Baron update: Biogen caves in to human decency

October 16, 2008

Mesothelioma titan Fred Baron will receive the last chance drug he needs to fight back what is likely terminal multiple myeloma, despite Biogen’s initial reluctance to provide the drug for off label use even with FDA approval, immunity from suit, and the plea of senators, ex-presidents, and tort giants like Mark Lanier.

“Thanks to the persistence and hard work of so many friends, Fred has received Tysabri,” Baron’s wife, Lisa Blue, said in an e-mailed statement. “The Mayo Clinic working with the FDA found a legal basis for this use. We have every expectation of a positive result.” The whole story is here.


Congress finally probes link between pharma and researchers

October 16, 2008

Asbestos in particular, and science in general, have long been characterized by corrupt associations between researchers dependent on funding and pharmaceutical companies dependent on positive research outcomes in order to win FDA approval. The funding effect–a statistically bulletproof, demonstrable relationship between the funding source and a positive research outcome–is so well known that all reputable medical journals require funding source disclosure by researchers prior to publication.

Excellent books like “Doubt is their Product” by David Michaels and “Bending Science” by McGarity and Wagner explore this in detail.

Senators Grassley and Kohl have decided to probe more deeply for information about the financial links between researchers and companies that manufacture cardiovascular medical products. Story reported by the NYT.


“Must reading” for asbestos and mesothelioma

October 16, 2008

My asbestos reading list on Amazon.

Under the “Contributions” heading, click on the “Listmania” tab.


Mesothelioma science update

October 16, 2008

Diagnosis/staging
CK5/6 in effusions: no difference between mesothelioma and pulmonary and nonpulmonary adenocarcinoma

Increased 8-isoprostane, a marker of oxidative stress in exhaled breath condensate in subjects with asbestos exposure

Pulmonary epithelioid hemangioendothelioma mimicking mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma
Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Risk factors
Pooled analysis of NAT2 genotypes as risk factors for asbestos-related malignant mesothelioma

Health Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials (III)

Tumor suppression
Functional inactivation of NF2/merlin in human mesothelioma


Radical pleurectomy/decortication saves patients bypassed by EPP

October 16, 2008

This article discusses a study that showed the effectiveness of open chest radical pleurectomy decortication  (PD) surgery compared to open chest palliative PD for patients who were not eligible for EPP.


Am I a candidate for surgery?

October 16, 2008

Here’s a discussion about prognostic factors for patients considering surgical treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma.