Category Archives: Meso Facts

Mesothelioma is the name of a cancerous tumor that comes from the cells of the mesothelioum, a thin protective lining that covers many internal body organs including the lungs. Here you will find many facts about mesothelioma presented by Dr. Gill, a professor of Medicine and Pathology and head of the tumor and vascular biology laboratory at the University of Southern California. His clinical affiliation is with the USC Ambulatory Health Center and he is the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board for the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America.

Study Shows Asbestos Bans are Slow to Reduce Malignant Mesothelioma Rates

It has been more than 32 years since Denmark began in 1972 a ban on the use of asbestos insulation. In the late 1980s, Denmark also extended its ban to include other products containing asbestos.  And now, Denmark is one of 55 countries who have completely banned asbestos  products.  

But according to the new study of mesothelioma in Denmark, a steady rise in cases of this asbestos-linked cancer that began in the 1950s is still going on.

Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the membranes around internal organs, most often the lungs or abdomen of the patient. It is a deadly disease that comes from exposure to the mineral asbestos.

Asbestos was made into a popular insulator and component in building materials worldwide back in the 1930s because it was readily available, cost little, and its very resistant to fire and corrosion.  The use of Asbestos in the building materials has put hundreds of thousands of workers at risk for mesothelioma.

Many countries, including Denmark, began in the 1950s and 60s to reduce their use of Asbestos products after it was linked to mesothelioma cancer as well as other unhealthy conditions.Pleural Mesothelioma Asbestos Lung Cancer

In a Danish study, the research team used data from the years 1943 through 2009 about mesothelioma stored at the Danish Cancer Registry. The researchers discovered the total incidence of mesothelioma continued to rise throughout the study period showing a peak of 1.76 cases per 100,000 people during the years 2008-2009.

The study also identified more cases in the Region of Northern Jutland in comparison to Southern Denmark.  While mesothelioma survival rate has improved slightly, the researchers noted that the  prognosis for getting mesothelioma continues to remain poor based on a median rate of 12.5 months survival for men and 13.3 months survival for women in the years 2008 through 2009.

In the Danish Medical Journal, the authors conclude:

“The national malignant mesothelioma incidence for men continues to increase, perhaps showing a slight tendency towards deceleration in the most recent decade,”

But they go on to say that:

“A clear long-term effect of the Danish asbestos ban has not yet occurred.”

Lag Time between Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Diagnosis

With mesothelioma, the lag time  (latency period) between exposure to asbestos  and the development of the disease can be many decades.   It is during the latency period that the disease is very difficult to detect and diagnose, much less tracing its source.  Frequently mesothelioma cancer is diagnosed late in its development, and it tends to progress quickly.  Estimates from the World Health Organization show that since 1994, more than 92,000 people have died from mesothelioma cancer.

RESULTS:

In Denmark, the national incidence of malignant mesothelioma cancer for men has been rising during the study period, reaching its total maximum of 1.76 in 2008-2009.  The incidence rate has remained relatively steady for women with a maximum of 0.5 in 1973 through 1977.

Northern Jutland and the surrounding region records the highest male incidence rate of mesothelioma since the late 1980s. The difference in relative risk for men in the Region of Southern Denmark and the Region of Northern Jutland was 1.53 during the period of 2008-2009.  The relative risk of developing mesothelioma cancer in the Region of Northern Jutland for the entire study period when collectively compared to the whole of Denmark was 1.38.  The study showed there are no notable regional differences for women at risk of developing mesothelioma.  Therefore, survival has slightly improved for both genders, but still remains poor with a median survival of 12.5 months for men and 13.3 months for women in the period of 2008 through 2009.

CONCLUSION:

Within Denmark the national malignant mesothelioma incidence for men continues to increase, perhaps showing a slight tendency towards deceleration in the most recent decade. A measurable long-term mitigating effect of the Danish ban on asbestos products  has not yet occurred.

The original Danish study appeared in the Danish Medical Journal. (Skammeritz, E, et al, “Regional difference in incidence of malignant mesothelioma in Denmark“, March 2013, Danish Medical Journal.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23484611

The Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.

Related Mesothelioma Cancer Press Releases

New Cancer Treatments Using T-Cell Genetically Modified Therapy

Incredible results within some clinical trials are showing up for cancer treatments where genetically modify patients’ blood cells are created to target specific cancer disease.

Based on two clinical trials, nearly 90% of patients had their leukemia disappear after receiving an experimental therapy using genetically modified  CAR T-cells.   These trials were sponsored sponsored by Novartis AG NOVN.VX -0.72% of Switzerland and Seattle-based biotech Juno Therapeutics Inc.  The results were published in December and February of 2014.

Both trials included just a few patients: 22 children in the Novartis trial and 16 adults in the Juno trial.  All patients had a common childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and these patients each had exhausted standard cancer treatments.

According to Dr. Daniel DeAngelo: “CAR T-cells are probably one of the most exciting concepts and fields to come out in cancer in a very, very long time.”  Dr. DeAngelo is a Boston-based hematologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.  He was is not involved in either of the clinical trials.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Usman Azam said “I think that a cure for cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma through a CAR technology is plausible.  Oour job is to get this into patients as soon as we feasibly can.”

Dr. Azam is the leader of cell and gene therapies at Novartis, and also heads the new unit Novartis created partly to speed the therapies’ time to market.

T-Cell CAR therapies combine the methods of genetic tweaking and “immunotherapy,” which uses the patient’s immune system to fight disease. The genetic part of the method involves extracting disease-fighting white blood cells called T-cells from a patient’s blood. The T-cells are then genetically modified, grown in a laboratory dish for around a short period of time, and then injected back into the patient.

Genetically Modified T-Cell cancer therapy

The laboratory dish process is where T-cells are combined with a disabled virus.  The virus enables the T-cells to produce Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) that can recognize and target malignant proteins on the surface of cancer cells.

Novartis is funding the development of their treatment in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, while Juno’s funding is in partnership with teams at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

For patients seeking potential solutions to their cancer, knowing who is developing new treatments brings them to the opportunity to participate in Clinical Trials to get early results to cancer cure.  Therefore, while Novartis and Juno are ahead in the race to bring Genetically Modified T-Cell cancer therapy to the mass of cancer patients, there is also others developing similar therapy methods including  Pfizer Inc., PFE -0.04% Kite Pharma Inc. KITE -3.75% and Celgene Corp. CELG -1.14%  (in collaboration with Bluebird Bio Inc. BLUE +1.43% ).

Genetically modified T-Cell therapy deploying CARs is very new;  so there are unresolved questions about the method of using this kind of therapy.

How Long Does T-Cell CAR Treatments Last Keeping Cancer In Remission?

Because the current clinical trials treated only a small number of patients, as well as many of those patients whose cancer went into remission after the T-Cell CAR treatment where then eligible for subsequent stem-cell transplants (which can also increase survival), there is no absolute evidence and history to yet determine the longevity this treatment produces.

Additionally, there is a potential dangerous side effect for some patients called “cytokine-release syndrome,” an immune response while the therapy is working, can cause a sharp drop in blood pressure and surge in the patient’s  heart rate.

In March 2014, a Juno-backed Sloan-Kettering trial was held over the deaths of two patients.  That has caused a temporary halt in the T-Cell CAR study because of worries about the dangerous immune response and two deaths.

But, the clinical trial is again recruiting patients giving those with very advanced leukemia fewer modified cells, and excluding those patients with a risk of heart failure.

Can T-Cell CAR Treatments Be Created At Affordable Cost?

Due to the genetic engineering involved with T-Cell CAR therapy which is very complex to manufacture with each laboratory batch being a unique personalized treatment customized to a cancer patient’s own blood cells, the inability to mass-produce T-Cell CAR therapy questions the implication about how much companies will charge for the therapy.

Dr. Malcolm Brenner, director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, reminds us that “What we’re talking about here is a single, very expensive therapy that’s used once for a specific patient and is not generalizable.”

While Citigroup believes T-Cell CAR therapy could cost in excess of $500,000 per patient, which it notes is roughly the same cost for a stem cell transplant, most analysts still think it is too soon to approximate the future revenue or price for this therapy.

Again, Dr. DeAngelo clarifies:  “This technology needs to be widely developed and accessible to patients; if the cost is going to be a hindrance, it’s going to be a really sad day.”

For these reasons and more,  Pfizer is taking a different approach to this treatment with a focus on managing scalability and cost.  “We would like to take it to the next level, where CAR therapies become a more standardized, highly controlled treatment,” said Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s head of global research and development.

Pfizer wants to develop a generic T-Cell CAR therapy for use in any patient, potentially lowering its cost.  So, Pfizer is collaborating with French biotech Cellectis SA, ALCLS.FR +1.89%  on T-Cell CAR research that is currently preclinical.

Even if  T-Cell CAR treatments being developed might justify “outrageous” prices, it is probably that health-care payers as well as patients might object and fight back.  International director of health-care research at Société Générale, Stephen McGarry, asks:  “When you look at the initial data with the Novartis therapy, you’re getting cures in some kids—what do you charge for that?”

So, the drug companies and biotechs must overcome big hurdles to get their T-Cell CAR therapies into hospitals, and manage their potential cost.  And the biggest challenge may be the cost of the therapies.

Mesothelioma Prognosis Stage One

Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer caused due to excessive exposure to asbestos. Its prognosis is dependent on the stage of the disease and the age of the patient. Apart from this, there is also the factor of health condition of the patient and the kind of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Prognosis

The prognosis and the life expectancy of the patient are dependent mainly on the stage of mesothelioma when it is diagnosed.  But with mesothelioma, unlike some other cancers, it is difficult to determine the developmental stage when the cancer is diagnosed. This is because the disease is quite rare and the initial symptoms are not easily diagnosable. As this deadly disease is diagnosed only at the advanced stage, the survival rate is not very high. The history of mesothelioma statistics indicate that 10% of the cases diagnosed for about 3 years and about 5% will live for about 5 years.  Still, if the disease is diagnosed early such as stage one and is treated effectively, then 50% will survive 2 years and 20% people will survive 5 years.

Mesothelioma Stage One

The Four Stages of Mesothelioma Cancer
Four Stages of Mesothelioma Cancer

Stage one mesothelioma indicates that the cancer is localized and has not spread to other parts of the body. It is found only in one area of the body like in the case of pleural mesothelioma, it is only in one part of the lung. There are different methods to identify the stage of mesothelioma for its prognosis:

Mesothelioma Stage One – Butchart Staging System

This method is considered to be oldest system to discover the degree of development for pleural mesothelioma. The staging is done based on the size of the primary tumor. In Stage One, only one of the sides of the lung has cancer which indicates that one part of the pleural membrane is affected by cancer. It could be also one side of the diaphragm and one lung.

Mesothelioma Stage One – The TNM Staging System

This is a recent kind of staging system which stage the cancer depending on the size of a tumor, presence of cancer in the lymph nodes and its spreading to other parts of the body.  When using the TNM method, stage one mesothelioma is found in the left or right pleura and has spread to either the lung, the pericardium or the diaphragm on the same side of the chest. In TNM stage one mesothelioma, the cancer is not found in lymph nodes and has not metastasized to other body parts.

When the Brigham System is used to stage malignant mesothelioma, the doctors generally focus and grade the stage of the cancer based on the successful removal of the primary tumor with surgery. So, with this approach and method the stage one mesothelioma patient has a better prognosis, because the other stages may not follow this stage indicating that the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body and has been restricted to only one part of the body. This method also provides for better treatment options.

However, it is quite difficult to diagnose this disease at stage one use both methods because the symptoms of mesothelioma are not clearly identifiable like they are in Stages Two, Three or Four.  In Stage One, the patient can be treated by undergoing a surgery to remove the primary tumor and the nearing tissue followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells.

Please consider using our offer to ask oncologist and research leader, Dr. Parkash Gill, for a specific response to your mesothelioma question for FREE: Click Here to Ask Dr. Gill

More Mesothelioma Articles

CDC Data Shows Workers Exposed to Asbestos at risk of Mesothelioma Cancer

CDC - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Government agency for disease control ( CDC )

 

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown that despite federal restrictions on the commercial use of asbestos, workers who were exposed to asbestos-containing products on the job decades ago may still be at risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma as well as other asbestos-related diseases. The Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America is recommending workers who were exposed to asbestos on the job and have developed symptoms akin to mesothelioma, lung cancer or other illnesses consider their options with medical treatment including participation in clinical trials of new drugs demonstrating the promise of cure for mesothelioma cancer.

History of Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Asbestos is a cancer-causing material that was commonly used for commercial, industrial and construction purposes before being restricted in the U.S. during the 1970s. However, because workers may take as many as 50 years after exposure to develop symptoms of an asbestos disease, many workers who worked with asbestos on the job are only now showing signs of mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer or other related conditions.

Mesothelioma is the most deadly disease associated with asbestos exposure and is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the heart, lungs and abdomen.  Data collected and statistics compiled by the CDC demonstrate the  states with the highest number of mesothelioma deaths which include California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and Washington. More than half of all mesothelioma deaths in the United States are recorded in these eight states.

Sources of Asbestos Exposure Causing Mesothelioma

Because of the wide variety of commercial applications for asbestos, workers across many industries may be at risk of developing an asbestos disease. Some of the job sites most commonly associated with asbestos-related cancers and other conditions include construction sites, oil refineries, power plants, shipyards, chemical plants, aluminum plants, metal works and steel mills.

Veterans of the U.S. Navy or Merchant Marines may also be at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases due to the asbestos products that were used on board ships. Workers at U.S. naval shipyards as well as private sector shipyards that were used by the Navy may also have been exposed to asbestos products or protective materials.

Conclusion

Individuals who were exposed to asbestos and have developed symptoms of mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis or another asbestos-related disease should seek a  professional medical opinion.  The Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America (a not-for-profit research organization) provides free access to our mesothelioma research team for answers to your medical questions.  Simply Ask Dr. Gil.

Fighting Mesothelioma: a review of case studies

The membrane lining which surrounds internal organs in the human body is known as mesothelium. When cells of the mesothelium become damaged and abnormal, dividing randomly, mesothelioma cancer may be diagnosed. Those cancerous cells not only attack the inner organs and tissues, but can also spread to other body parts. What makes mesothelioma cancer so dangerous is its aggressive nature and incurability. Some symptoms of mesothelioma include accumulation of chest fluid, chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, anemia and abnormal blood clotting.

Exposure to asbestos can be a risk factor for developing this deadly disease. Case studies on mesothelioma have shown a 70-80 percent relationship between this cancer and exposure to asbestos at certain worksites. Asbestos is used in manufacturing industries to produce flooring materials, cement, roof shingles, textiles, brake linings and other common goods. Asbestos particles can be released into the air, and are unfortunately inhaled or ingested. Asbestos may lead to devastating consequences once inside the human body. Workers and anyone who has come into contact with products and industries associated with asbestos are urged to receive thorough medical analysis. Symptoms may not appear until decades after exposure.

Mesothelioma case studies have also shown that intentional negligence on the part of manufacturing companies has caused many workers to be exposed to asbestos. Manufacturers who use identifiably dangerous materials have responsibilities to protect people who may come into contact with those potentially harmful substances. Implementing necessary precautions to safeguard people’s health is of top priority. Too often, proper protections have not been followed. Victims should pursue and seek the help of specialized, experienced mesothelioma experts because victims are likely to receive financial compensation and support for high expense in medical bills, lost wages from poor health, and other hardships induced by having mesothelioma cancer.

Mesothelioma: Basic Facts and the Need for Medical and Legal Assistance

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you must seek immediate treatment and legal advice. Mesothelioma victims and their families may be entitled to the best medical attention and financial compensation. Seek the best doctors and medical facilities, and get a qualified mesothelioma lawyer who will advise upon the best course of action for possible lawsuit and litigation.

Who is at risk for developing Mesothelioma?

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. An increased risk for developing mesothelioma was found amount people who work in asbestos mines and mills, shipyards, workers in the heating and construction industries, automobile mechanics, and other trades people. People who knowingly work with asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk to exposure. In other cases, companies are negligent and don’t provide protective measures.

Symptoms and Treatment of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The symptoms of mesothelioma may take years to appear. Some common symptoms of mesothelioma are: excessive fatigue, acute pain in the abdominal region and chest area, and shortness of breath.

Standard treatment of mesothelioma include: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery or a combination of treatment and medications. These mesothelioma treatments are very expensive but with a knowledgeable mesothelioma lawyer by your side, you should not have to worry about paying your medical bills.

A Few Facts about Mesothelioma

The symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear for decades after exposure. You may have recently developed asbestos cancer from a job you left decades ago. The average survival term after diagnosis with mesothelioma is twelve to eighteen months. The courts in most states are generally reasonable; they know the urgency of mesothelioma lawsuit and often will help expedite it. In the U.S., about 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually. What should I do after being diagnosed with mesothelioma?

Once you are diagnosed with mesothelioma and receiving the proper care and treatment by a professional medical team, you should immediately seek legal advice and counsel from a knowledgeable mesothelioma lawyer who has experience in such cases. Your mesothelioma diagnosis will require medical and legal advice, which is where a qualified mesothelioma lawyer can help you. A qualified mesothelioma lawyer will be able to tell you everything you need to know about your legal rights and the amount of compensation to expect. Mesothelioma lawyers have the expertise in settling mesothelioma cases. You deserve the best treatment both medically and legally, so seek the best medical attention and the aid of a qualified mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible.

What is Veglin for a Mesothelioma cure?

Veglin – Phase I and II clinical trials

Dr. Parkash Gill has invented Veglin, a type of antisense oligonucleotide anti-angiogenesis drug.  Veglin has been under clinical trials phases I and II  at the University of Southern California.  This drug has demonstrated preliminary success with  results of lowering VEGF levels  in tumors.  Tumor growth is aided by the protein VEGF.  The results of the  Phase I clinical trials using Veglin were released by Dr. Parkash Gill during the 40th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  The doctor said that results in some cases had shown Veglin to be capable of reduction of tumors and periodic stabilization.

Continue reading What is Veglin for a Mesothelioma cure?

How to get copies of your Mesothelioma medical records

Every patient has a right to copies of all their medical records.  All you have to do is in writing make a request of each doctor you have seen, and pay a small fee to have them copied.  Be sure to keep copies of all your records including doctor visits and test results.  With these, then you will always be ready for a visit to a new medical practitioner.  Learn and practice asking for medical record copies each and every time you receive a doctor’s diagnosis.

Are there other kinds of insurance for Mesothelioma patients?

In addition to health insurance,  you may have private disability insurance.  In some states, depending on where you live and work, you may be eligible to receive state disability insurance payments.  State disability insurance only covers a limited period, but every bit of insurance income can help cover your costs.

If you are a Mesothelioma patient with the disease caused from being a Ground Zero 911 first responder, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act passed the congress on Christmas Eve 2010.  This act has set aside several billion dollars designated to assist in the medical expenses of 911 first responders.

Sometimes, when you have a life insurance policy and you need cash for paying medical expenses or other living expenses, and you’ve had a loss of income because of your Mesothelioma condition, it is possible to sell your policy.

You are advised to see the help and opinion of a qualified Mesothelioma attorney if  you believe your condition is work-related,  or if you have questions about your employer paying for sick leave.

Jerry Neil Paul: attorney for occupational- and environmental-related toxins.