Posts Tagged ‘lung cancer’

Meso Foundation commends U.K. efforts on mesothelioma, urges U.S. to follow suit

17 Mar 2010 by under Legal, News, Organizations, Research/Treatment
straw Meso Foundation commends U.K. efforts on mesothelioma, urges U.S. to follow suit

UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw

Earlier this month, Chris Hahn, executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation ( Foundation) expressed his support for the recent announcement from the UK that it plans to not only endorse compensation for mesothelioma victims, but to promote research and treatment. In a news release, Hahn praised the U.K. for its recognition “that society’s obligation and moral responsibility to remedy the tragic legacy of decades of asbestos use requires funding research to develop effective medical treatments.” Then, he asked the all-important question: “Will the United States follow?”

Hahn’s praise and plea followed remarks by the U.K.’s Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, who has been outspoken about the government’s role in caring for workers harmed by asbestos on the job.  Straw issued a statement Feb. 25, 2010, in response to an ongoing debate over the government’s decision on the question of compensation for pleural plaques.

Although pleural plaques, which are small areas of fibrosis in the pleura of the lung caused by asbestos exposure, indicate that a person has been exposed to asbestos, they generally do not cause any significant change in lung function. As a result, the on Oct. 17, 2007 determined that people who have pleural plaques, but no other asbestos-caused illness, are not eligible for any compensation for medical treatment or other financial claims. The debate over pleural plaques sparked a national debate about asbestos disease.

Although subsequent research did not provide enough evidence to overturn the Law Lords’ ruling, it has provided significant information about asbestos disease, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. The government also is establishing a number of policies to make it easier for those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma or serious asbestos disease to receive compensation more quickly. Additionally, the research has encouraged the UK government to take a stronger stand on mesothelioma research and treatment.

According to Straw’s statement, “The fact that the UK has one of the highest rates of death from mesothelioma in the world is a legacy of our industrial heritage and the part that asbestos played in it. Just as the UK was a global leader in the asbestos industry, we must now become a global leader in research into asbestos-related disease.”

The government of the UK is calling for the creation of a National Centre for Asbestos-Related Disease, which will be a “collaborative network of funded researchers whose core purpose would be to advance medical research into the prevention, cure and alleviation of asbestos-related disease – primarily mesothelioma,” according to Straw. He said the insurance industry has pledged £3 million toward this research effort.

Benefits of such a concentrated and cooperative research and treatment program would not only benefit mesothelioma patients, but also would significantly reduce the costs of litigation, death and disability benefits, and health care costs, Hahn points out.

“This is exactly what the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has been urging in the United States the past ten years,” Hahn says. “Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are a fundamental problem of social justice. And a just solution to that problem requires medical research to develop effective treatments to end the suffering and save lives. It is encouraging to see that the U.K. is getting it; we hope the U.S. will catch up soon.”

Read Hahn’s statement.

For more information, visit the Meso Foundation online at

ADAO praises senate for asbestos awareness resolution

5 Mar 2010 by under Events, News, Organizations

adao logo ADAO praises senate for asbestos awareness resolutionThis week the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) praised Senate leaders for a resolution that declares the first week of April 2010 as “National Asbestos Awareness Week.” This is the sixth year in a row that the ADAO has been active in working with Senate leaders to secure a national resolution in recognition of the dangers of asbestos.

The resolution is sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Co-sponsors and key supporters are Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

A news release from the ADAO quotes the organization’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Linda Reinstein as saying, “We are grateful to the U.S. Senate to have the opportunity to help raise the level of public awareness about the prolific dangers of asbestos and further unite doctors, scientists, and public health advocates during National Asbestos Awareness Week for this important effort. During the past six years, ADAO has seen the progress and indeed, this confirms what Americans deserve and want. We know asbestos prevention and education will save lives and dollars.”

The ADAO was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. It seeks to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure. ADAO’s mission includes supporting global advocacy and advancing asbestos awareness, prevention, early detection, treatment, and resources for asbestos-related disease.

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and exposure can cause asbestos-related diseases, including , lung cancer and asbestosis. According to the ADAO news release, studies estimate that during the next decade 100,000 workers around the world will die of an asbestos-related disease. This equals 30 deaths per day.

The ADAO annually holds a conference in conjunction with National Asbestos Awareness Week. The Sixth Annual International Asbestos Conference is set for April 10, 2010, in Chicago, Ill.

For more information about ADAO or for conference registration, visit ADAO online at

Mesothelioma cases on the rise in South Korea

1 Mar 2010 by under Events, News

south korea1 100x100 Mesothelioma cases on the rise in South KoreaHealth officials in South Korea are recording significant increases in asbestos-related diseases among the country’s population, including , and malignant mesothelioma. According to a report by TIME Magazine, the number of mesothelioma diagnoses increased from just 12 in 2001, to 55 new cases in 2007, the most recent year that data is available. It is, “in public health terms, a notable increase,” TIME quotes Paek Dom-yung, an occupational medicine professor at Seoul National University.

While South Korea enjoyed a boom in urban development from the 1960s through the 1980s, it is becoming evident the country’s lax rules on asbestos regulation may have exposed millions of people to health hazards. According to the TIME report, Seoul did not place a full ban on asbestos manufacturing, import and use until last year. It also had no regulations in place for the safe removal of existing asbestos during demolition and remodeling projects.

Now, trade and labor unions in South Korea are calling for the government to take responsibility for workers it knowingly exposed to deadly asbestos, and who are now suffering as a result.

Due to the long latency period between exposure and the development of mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases – which can be as long as 20-50 years – South Korean health officials are bracing for a future epidemic. It is predicted that the incidence of mesothelioma diagnoses in the region will not peak until around 2030.

Alimta developer to be inducted into Chemistry Hall of Fame

1 Jan 2010 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

edward taylor 100x100 Alimta developer to be inducted into Chemistry Hall of FamePrinceton University announced Edward Taylor, its A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Organic Chemistry Emeritus, will be inducted into the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Medicinal in 2010. Additionally, Taylor has been inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame and was selected to receive the 2010 Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry from the ACS. Taylor was instrumental in the development of Alimta, a drug manufactured by Eli Lilly and Co. and approved for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 2004.

Taylor was recently honored for his accomplishments at the Celebrate Princeton Invention reception, held Dec. 18. He developed Alimta in partnership with scientists at Eli Lilly and Co.  after spending more than 40 years on the Princeton faculty. However, he began research that would lead to the mesothelioma drug’s development while a graduate student at Cornell University.

According to a Princeton news release, Taylor became fascinated by reports of a compound obtained from spinach and liver that had a unique chemical structure with a nucleus previously only observed in the pigments of butterfly wings. The compound from liver, now known as folic acid, he found was essential for the synthesis of DNA and RNA, and for the growth of cells.  Taylor observed that changes to the structure of folic acid could transform it from a growth-promoting to a growth-inhibiting compound, and dedicated his career to determine how it could be used to kill cancer cells.

Since its approval by the FDA in 2004, the drug has received three additional FDA approvals, most recently in July when it became the first chemotherapy approved for use as a maintenance therapy for patients with locally advanced or metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer. Alimta has been successful in improving the quality of life and extending the lifespan of millions of cancer patients in nearly 100 countries around the world.

Taylor has previously been honored with the Award, the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry Senior Award in Heterocyclic Chemistry, and the Research and Development Council of New Jersey’s Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for Invention.

Future tied up in past as asbestos deaths continue in Libby

30 Dec 2009 by under News

As part of its look back at the year 2009, the Missioulian newspaper spoke with residents of Libby, Montana, the “poster child” for mesothelioma and other related diseases. Libby and its people have been decimated by exposure from the mine that for generations operated in the town. Even those who did not work in the mine were affected, as dust blanketed the town, spilled from trucks and railway cars, and particles were used as landfill throughout the town.

W.R. Grace & Company operated the mine. In 2009, the company and several of its officers were brought up on criminal charges, but a jury returned a verdict of “not guilty.” Many following the trial closely said the government botched its case against the company, and others argued Grace’s deep pockets simply outpaced the efforts of a handful of government lawyers.

The aquittal was another in a long line of emotional blows for Libby residents, who hoped to see W.R. Grace finally brought to justice for the devastation of their hometown, their families and loved ones. Generations of Libby residents have already died of mesothelioma, and many more are currently suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and a host of other ailments caused by longterm exposure to asbestos.

On June 17, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally declared a public health emergency in Libby. This designation – the first of its kind in American history – will allow the government to increase funds to provide for medical treatment for Libby residents, and for research into asbestos disease. According to the Missoulian, Libby has already received $6 million, which is designated for patient screening and care, and the town is set to receive an additional $2 million for health care and home care assistance. The paper reports the asbestos health care clinic – the Center for Asbestos Related Diseases (CARD) – and the local hospital are planning expansions.

At the beginning of December, a series of town hall meetings were held, hoping to address important questions about safety and health, including whether or not the government’s clean-up efforts are truly making any difference.

For residents who already have seen husbands, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives die terrible deaths from asbestos disease, it is too little too late. They try to remain strong, but they are angry, and sad, and it’s hard to hold onto hope.

Read the full article by Missoulian reporter Micheal Jamison.

James Hardie executives handed penalties in asbestos compensation fund case

21 Aug 2009 by under Legal, News

james hardie logo 100x100 James Hardie executives handed penalties in asbestos compensation fund caseThe (ASIC) reported this week that the New South Wales Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that it will impose penalties against seven former directors and three executives of  James Hardie Industries Limited. James Hardie is a manufacturer of Fiber Cement Siding and Backerboard. The court said the former Australian listed entity (JHIL) breached the Corporations Act in 2001 when making statements about the adequacy of asbestos compensation funding. The court also ruled James Hardie Industries NV (JHINV, based in the Netherlands) breached its continuous disclosure obligation in 2003.

James Hardie was one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of asbestos building products, and was alleged to have known the dangers of asbestos for decades.

The current proceedings came about as a result of ASIC’s investigation of matters identified by the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Medical and Compensation Foundation. James Hardie established the foundation, which was intended to compensate families who lost loved ones to asbestos disease, in 2001. The inquiry into the MRCF was established in 2004, and the commission found that James Hardie industries deliberately underfunded the victims’ compensation fund

According to a report by Nonee Walsh of ABC News, who has been following the story since 2003, James Hardie has spent about $25 million so far fighting the ASIC’s case, while asbestos victims and their families have been simultaneously negotiating for new funding for the foundation. Payments to the new asbestos compensation foundation are currently suspended.

Walsh also noted that Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos disease in the world, including asbestos-caused lung cancer, mesothelioma. In 2003, when the sale of all asbestos products was finally banned in Australia, the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission went on record as saying there is no known safe level of asbestos exposure.

The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and there is currently no known cure. Mesothelioma most often affects the lining of the chest cavity and lungs, but also may affect the lining of the abdomen or, more rarely, the heart. Asbestos exposure also causes a variety of other diseases, including asbestos, a severe scarring of the lungs.

It is estimated that the levels of asbestos disease will not peak in Australia until 2020, when it is expected that there will be 13,000 cases of mesothelioma and up to 40,000 cases of other asbestos-related lung cancer and disease.

The New South Wales Supreme Court imposed financial penalties totaling $750,000,  and said the company directors and executives named in the case will be barred from serving other boards of directors for between 5 and 15 years.

According to the ASIC, the James Hardie decision underlines the responsibility of companies to assess and check the veracity of statements make to the market. ASIC Chairman Tony D’Aloisio said, “The decision is another important step in improving corporate governance in Australia and that improvement will add confidence to the integrity of our markets.”

The matter will return to the Court on August 27, at which time the Court will make orders reflecting the penalties. The defendants will then have 28 days to appeal the findings.

Lung cancer awareness takes big step forward

18 Aug 2009 by under Legal, News, Organizations

lca logo Lung cancer awareness takes big step forwardThis week the Lung Cancer Alliance announced a big step forward in raising awareness and establishing real support for lung cancer research. The agency announced Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) has agreed to cosponsor the Lung Cancer Reduction Act of 2009, S.332.

This important legislation authorizes a five-year program to reduce the mortality rate of lung cancer, which continues to be the number one cancer killer.

Even though mesothelioma is not technically classified as “lung cancer” because it affects the lining of the chest and lungs, and can also affect the lining of the abdomen and the heart, I am excited to see real progress being made in this area. Funding for research and treatment of lung cancer can only benefit victims of mesothelioma – pleural in particular, affecting the lungs – as well as other asbestos-related diseases that affect the lungs, such as abestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs.

The bill will require the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Defense and Veterans Affairs to combine forces on a comprehensive, coordinated plan of action with funding authorized for five years to accomplish mortality reduction goals.

Of particular interest is a requirement in the bill directing the Secretaries of Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to implement an early detection and disease management program for military personnel who are at high risk of lung cancer because of exposure to carcinogens during active duty. As the mesothelioma community knows, many veterans, particularly those who served in the U.S. , now suffer from mesothelioma as a result of the widespread use of asbestos on vessels for years.

According to the LCA, the bill includes specific authorizations of $75,000,000 for certain National Institutes of Health (NIH) agencies in FY10 and authorizes such additional sums as may be necessary for all the cited agencies to accomplish the goal for FY2010 through FY2014.

Read more at the LCA web site.

Ask Oprah Winfrey to talk about lung cancer

21 May 2009 by under Events, News, People

There is a campaign going on RIGHT NOW to bring the topic of lung cancer to the attention of , in hopes the immensely popular talk show host will help bring awareness to the issue. The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation is sending a gigantic letter – 6 feet tall – to the Oprah Winfrey Show to catch the attention of producers and ask Oprah to dedicate a show to the topic of lung cancer.

The Foundation was established to bring awareness to the issue of lung cancer, and to eradicate the disease through research, education, early detection, prevention and treatment.

Lung cancer awareness groups are joining in this effort, and asking everyone who supports the issue of lung cancer awareness to SEND AN E-MAIL to the Oprah Winfrey Show voicing your support for this topic.

Although is not generally addressed when people talk about more traditional “lung cancer,” it most often affects the lining of the lungs, and research into the causes and treatments of lung cancer can also raise awareness of and help lead to treatments for meso as well, so I’m hoping the members of the meso community will support these efforts.

Please log on to the Plug Form right now to let the show’s producers know why you think lung cancer should be discussed on the show. Please mention the Bonnie J. Addario Foundation’s “big letter” and encourage them to read it, and to add YOUR voice to this call.

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of both men and women, and yet it is funded at much lower rates than other types of cancer. There is an overwhelming 85 percent mortality rate as a result of lung cancer.

Japanese workers call for government support of asbestos illness claims

24 Mar 2009 by under Legal, News

The Tokyo-based Ban Asbestos Network Japan (BANJAN) is lobbying the Japanese government to recognize and support compensation for workers who contracted or other asbestos-related diseases on the job. The organization is made up of civic groups and labor unions.

BANJAN is examining cases where workers contracted mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, as well as asbestos-related lung cancer. The group says only 7 percent of those who develop lung cancer as a result of asbestos exposure receive any support or compensation. Support for mesothelioma patients has increased slightly, from about 44.4 percent between 1995 and 2007, to about 51.8 percent of victims receiving compensation in 2004.

According to a report in The Mainichi Daily News,  often times those suffering from mesothelioma or asbestos-related illnesses are not aware of available services, or do not know how to go about filing for compensation. There also are strict guidelines to qualify for compensation, promptin BANJAN to call for a revision of the Asbestos Health Damage Relief Law to help workers qualify for benefits.

Perhaps a good sign, this week Daily News reported that the head council for the Fund for Local Government Employees Accident Compensation overturned an earlier decision to deny compnesation to the family of a worker who died of mesothelioma. Masanori Takeda died in December 2005. His work involved handling asbestos insulation.

Originally, the News reports, the compensation fund’s Osaka branch and its screening committee rejected the claim for compensation, which was filed by Takeda’s wife, saying the asbestos exposure was not a primary function of the worker’s job and therefore didn’t qualify for the public service casualty compensation.

However, the head council ruled the man’s job did involve long term exposure to asbestos, and that the mesothelioma was a result of that exposure, and granted the compensation claim.

LCA Chairman Coady has died

1 Jul 2008 by under News, People

coady 150x150 LCA Chairman Coady has diedI was very sad today to learn that Rear Admiral Phil Coady, U.S. Navy (Ret.) passed away yesterday, June 30. Admiral Coady served as Chairman of the Board for the Lung Cancer Alliance, and was kind enough to share his story with this blog in April. A non-smoker, Coady was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in 2005. The diagnosis spurred him to advocacy, particularly on behalf of Veterans.

Although Coady didn’t suffer from mesothelioma, he was very much aware of the risks posed by asbestos. His work during his time in the Navy very often put him in contact with the substance, he said, and seven of his friends died from mesothelioma since his retirement. In addition, for 10 years following his retirement, Coady worked as president of the Navy Mutual Aid Association, a non-profit veterans benefit group and life insurance service, where he said he saw what he thought was a disproportionate amount of lung cancer deaths.

When he began investigating lung cancer research efforts, Adm. Coady was shocked at the relatively few dollars spent by the Veterans Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense, considering the number of veterans affected by the disease. He also was disappointed at the overall lack of funding for lung cancer research in comparison to spending on other cancers, especially since lung cancer is the leading cancer killer.

He dedicated himself as Chairman of the Board for the Lung Cancer Alliance, fighting the battle for lung cancer and funding under the organization’s motto “No More Excuses. No More Lung Cancer.” He led efforts in lobbying Congress to make lung cancer a national health priority.

Just last week, Coady saw some of the first fruits of his efforts, when Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate creating and authorizing at least $75 million for lung cancer research. This is the first ever multi-agency, comprehensive program targeted at reducing lung cancer mortality.

Perhaps the best memoriam Adm. Coady could receive is for supporters of lung cancer awareness and research to contact their U.S. Senators NOW and ask them to add their support to S. 3187, the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act. Remember him and take action for those to come after him! You can view his obituary here.

Blessings to Adm. Coady’s family at this time of loss.