MN Governor inks cancer study

May 8, 2008

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty approved a $4.9 million dollar study of mesothelioma and taconite worker’s health Monday, after reaching a compromise with Range legislators. The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed at least 58 miners’ deaths due to mesothelioma.


Need for federal mesothelioma research dollars more dire than ever

April 3, 2008

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty says he doesn’t approve of the funding source for research on mesothelioma among Iron Range workers. Iron Range lawmakers lobbied for and authored a bill that would take $4.9 million dollars out of the Worker’s Compensation Fund, for the studies. Pawlenty wants the money to come from Iron Range Resources. Range lawmakers said they plan on moving forward, with their version. This is another example of how delegating research funding to the states results in complications and political roadblocks that inhibit research to find better treatment and a cure for mesothelioma. The draft House legislation addressing an asbestos ban will also include research provisions to overcome these problems.


Anti-cancer drug CYT997 update

March 14, 2008

Cytopia Limited (ASX: CYT) has commenced dosing patients in the first of a suite of Phase II clinical studies for its vascular disrupting agent (VDA), CYT997. These studies will investigate the activity of this anti-cancer compound in specific cancer types with high unmet medical need and poor prognoses.

VDAs are a new class of drugs to treat cancer and have potential for “blockbuster” sales in the treatment of vascularized tumors. CYT997 has a dual mechanism of action shutting down established blood vessels that supply the tumor with nutrients and oxygen and also direct cytotoxic properties. Capable of being delivered orally as well as intravenously, the compound was discovered by Cytopia scientists in 2003 and an Investigational New Drug application was accepted by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2005 to commence Phase I studies. During the 2008 financial year Cytopia has: — commenced dosing in its first Phase II study — finalized preparations for its second Phase II study — concluded its first Phase I safety and tolerability study with intravenous administration — continued dose-escalation in its Phase I capsule dosing study (oral administration)

Phase II clinical programs

Following favorable findings in mesothelioma patients in Cytopia’s Phase I trial, the company is undertaking feasibility analysis for a Phase II study in mesothelioma patients who have failed the currently approved drug, Alimta (pemetrexed). This single-arm study of 20-30 patients would potentially be conducted at multiple centers in Australia, the United States and Asia. Activity in second-line mesothelioma could lead to expedited drug approval and a fast-to-market strategy for the compound in this cancer indication. It is anticipated that appropriate regulatory submissions to support this study will be filed in the third quarter of 2008.

Click here for the full press release: http://www.cytopia.com.au


Mesothelioma science news update

October 19, 2007

San Pedro, CA, October 18, 2007
The Law Office of Roger G. Worthington, P.C.

1. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy and 3D-conformal radiation therapy are both suitable for mesothelioma. Link here.

2. Alpha-TOS ineffective at inhibiting tumor development mice with peritoneal mesothelioma, and results in severe side effects. Link here.

3. Patient with rare pericardial mesothelioma extends average 6-month survival to 16 months with carboplatin + pemetrexed regimen. Link here.

4. Tumor serum markers CEA and SMRP were able to discriminate with high sensitivity between mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer; Cyfra 21.1 proved useful discriminating between normal versus malignancy. Link here.

5. Risk of mesothelioma increases from second-hand asbestos exposure, but mortality from lung cancer does not increase. Link here.


Mesothelioma science news

October 9, 2007

San Pedro, CA – October 9, 2007

1. Restricted field radiation therapy provides an improved method for radiating a complex target after extrapleural pneumonectomy. Link here.

2. First exposure to asbestos as related to later development of mesothelioma. Link here.

3. Outline of the evidence supporting the conclusion that asbestos from brakes can and does cause mesothelioma, and description of attempts to fabricate doubt about this conclusion. Link here.

4. Asbestos exposure causes increased cancer of the pleura and leukemia among Savannah River Site workers. Link here.

5. Prognostic factors in the treatment of pleural mesothelioma. Link here.

6. Bortezomib causes cell death and in vivo tumor regression in malignant mesothelioma and has led to a phase II clinical trial currently enrolling in Europe. Link here.

7. The addition of intermittently dosed Gleevec to Gemcitabine at low to full dose was associated with broad antitumor activity and little increase in toxicity in three mesothelioma cases. Link here.

8. Rare case in Australia of spontaneous regression of mesothelioma with no recurrence. Link here.

9. Mesothelioma epidemic in Trieste continues. Link here.


MARF mesothelioma symposium update

October 8, 2007

San Pedro, CA – October 5, 2007
From the Law Office of Roger Worthington

Yesterday began the fourth International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma hosted by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (www.marf.org).

The first day of the symposium was marked by the senate’s landmark passage of the Ban Asbestos Act. Over 115 meetings were scheduled with representatives and legislators from over 25 states with approximately 120 mesothelioma patients, researchers, families, and advocates who have been affected by asbestos disease. The volunteers “stormed” Capitol Hill and were present when Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced the long-awaited passing of this crucial legislation.

This morning, the medical portion of the symposium began with Dr. Courtney Broaddus’s excellent analogy explaining the creation of a mesothelioma. Likening the evolution of the cancerous cell to a speeding, out of control automobile with an unending tank of gas and no way of breaking or slowing down, all attendees were left with a gripping understanding of mesothelioma tumors and how they work. Dr. Broaddus works at the Lung Biology Center at the University of California at San Francisco.

Following Dr. Broaddus was Dr. Harvey Pass of the New York University Cancer Center. Dr. Pass discussed the latest research and the discovery and validation of potential genomic-based biomarkers for asbestos-related neoplasms.

As the Chairman of the Science Advisory Board of MARF, Dr. Pass addressed the mesothelioma patients in the audience as the “shareholders of MARF” whom he was here to present the latest “deliverables.”

Dr. Pass detailed the latest efforts regarding early detection for mesothelioma. He went into detail about the studies performed on biomarkers in the serum and plasma of mesothelioma patients and cohorts who have been exposed to asbestos, including biomarkers such as Osteopontin,. According to Dr. Pass, “It is important to determine what proteins are in the tissue of a mesothelioma patient that make the tumor different.”

Dr. Pass stressed the need for other clinics, hospitals, and laboratories to work together and share data. “We cannot discover in isolation. All the centers have to work together and the passing of the bill yesterday will work for all of us!”

r. Lee Krug and Dr. John Chabot followed Dr. Pass to the podium to discuss the current multi-modal treatment for pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. Dr. Krug, from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, compared the two types of surgeries for pleural mesothelioma, the extra-pleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and the pleurectomy with decortication (P/D). He also talked about the survival rates of the surgeries in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation as well as neoadjuvant chemotherapy. However, most of his discussion centered on the EPP with chemotherapy/radiation. In summary, the median survival rate of patients treated with EPP and chemo/radiation was 13 months.

Dr. Chabot, of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, talked about his preferred treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma, which includes a laparotomy with debulking followed by intraperitoneal chemotherapy and then a second laparotomy with definitive resection and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy.

Completing the morning session was Dr. Hedy Kindler of the University of Chicago and Mary Hesdorffer, medical liaison of MARF, discussing the benefits and side effects of Alimta used in conjunction with Cisplatin and/or Carboplatin. Dr. Kindler went into detail about how an oncologist best determines the chemotherapy for a mesothelioma patient and how to administer the chemotherapy. She focused on Alimta, which is the only FDA- approved chemotherapeutic agent for mesothelioma. She talked about the ongoing clinical trials using Alimta alone (median survival rate of 10 months) or with Cisplatin (survival rate of 12 months) or with Cisplatin alone (survival rate of 9 months).

Ms. Hesdorffer went into detail on how best to prepare and address any side effects from the drugs used in any of these combinations.


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.