Posts Tagged ‘meso’

jazz CD a tribute to artist affected by meso

15 Aug 2008 by under Events, News, People

keithshadwick1 jazz CD a tribute to artist affected by mesoLast week, I mentioned that I’d come across an interesting story about a jazz musician and noted writer in Britain, who released a recording of his work begun in 1973. was a professional musician in Australia at the time, and he, along with drummer Gary Norwell, had formed a band called Sun, with a few other musicians. The group released one album, but then broke up. Keith and Gary recorded several jazz tracks before going their separate ways, and Keith revived the project off and on, in the mid 1980s and again in 2005 when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

A British record label, Candid Records, agreed to release the CD, and Keith recruited a number of musicians to fill in the gaps on the tracks to finally see the project through. The CD was called , a name initally selected because the original tracks recorded in 1973-74 were done during a recording studio’s down time, when a friend who worked there was able to lend Keith and Gary the space. But the liner notes, penned by Keith to tell the story of how the recording came together, tend to more solemn reflection.

“Then suddenly completion is in front of you and there is no free time anymore,” he writes, and it’s easy to see the dual implication of a completed project and a completed life.

Keith passed away just as the CD was pressed, and it is unlikely he saw it in its final form.

The special edition release of Free Time is available only through the Candid Records web site, and is shipped from the UK. Cost is £9.99 plus shipping, which totals around $24 U.S. once you figure in the exchange rate. But all proceeds from the sales will go to Bart’s Mesothelioma Research, an organization in Britain dedicated to the treatment of mesothelioma.

I received my CD yesterday. Full of free-spirited modern jazz tunes highlighting Keith on saxophone, the CD is joyful and jamming and sometimes poignant. It is perhaps hardest to comprehend when mesothelioma steals the breath of those who create music, before it steals their life.

California girl brightens meso struggle with color

13 Aug 2008 by under News, People

There’s an interesting story in the news today about a young woman in California who has painted the exterior of her home a bright seafoam green as a way to boost her spirits as she struggles with abdominal mesothelioma. The story is published in Today’s Local News, a community newspaper distributed free of charge to 75,000 homes in the five cities along the Highway 78 corridor – Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista, Calif.

According to the story, was diagnosed with advanced mesothelioma in her abdomen a little more than two years ago. She underwent surgery and now flies to the National Institutes for Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, every four months for treatment. There is no cure for her mesothelioma, and Price knows that within five years after surgery the cancer can reappear.

When she purchased her house in Carlsbad, Calif., she first brightened the inside, painting the rooms in a variety of bold colors – gold, orange, purple, green, blue and pink. The colors cheer her up, the story reports, quoting Price as saying, “Life’s been pretty dark for a long time. I want color, you know?”

Unfortunately, the choice to paint the exterior of her home has raised the ire of some neighbors, who have harassed Price and her two daughters, the News reports. Twice, groups of teens have approached the house with the intent to vandalize it, and many times people have driven by yelling insults at her. They commonly tell her to “…go back to…Tijuana!”, a racially motivated reference to the bright colors sometimes favored in Hispanic decor.

Although the harrassment has been scary and discouraging, Price decided to take a lighthearted approach and recently threw a Mexian-themed party in her yard, complete with a mariachi band, traditional taqueria (taco stand) and low-rider autos donated to the event by a local auto club in which some of her friends are members.

Not all neighbors have reacted negatively, with many saying Price ought to do what she wants to find happiness and peace during this difficult struggle with mesothelioma.

Perhaps some of those harassing Price don’t know about her special circumstances.

But even if she wasn’t facing a terminal diagnosis, it makes you wonder about the lack of tolerance in the world today. What is so scary about diversity that some people feel the need to react with hostility and violence? How boring the world would be if everyone was the same.

Good for you, Rebekah! Find your joy! You serve as an inspiration to all of us to embrace the beauty and fun in this world, to take the time to stop and look around and really see what we have, and what we want, before it’s too late.

CARD physician predicts mesothelioma epidemic

11 Aug 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

An article published by the Daily Inter Lake, which serves Northwest Montana, reports on a new study by Dr. Alan Whitehouse, a pulmonologist affiliated with the () in Libby, Montana. Dr. Whitehouse’s study, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, predicts an epidemic of mesothelioma cases in Libby in the next 10-20 years.

Dr. Whitehouse, along with four other physicians including CARD’s Dr. Brad Black, studied 31 mesothelioma cases, including 11 cases not previously reported. The study focused specifically on non-occupational asbestos exposure, including exposure to contamination of the community, the surrounding forested area, and areas in proximity to the Kootenai river and the railroad tracks used to haul vermiculite.

It is estimated that more than 200 people in Libby have died from asbestos-related disease, and CARD is following 2,000 additional asbestos cases. CARD primarily serves Libby residents who were affected by the W.R. Grace-operated vermiculite mine, which was in operation for many years, and at high capacity from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Focus has recently shifted to include people suffering from asbestos disease and mesothelioma who never came into direct contact with the vermiculite mining operation. In June, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency announced an $8 million grant to fund a five-year study of the effects of low-level asbestos exposure.

Shadwick CD benefits mesothelioma research

7 Aug 2008 by under News, People

keithshadwick Shadwick CD benefits mesothelioma researchThirty-four years after its original recording, Candid Records has released a jazz CD to honor the memory of noted British journalist and musician Keith Shadwick, with all proceeds from the sale going to Bart’s Mesothelioma Research, a charity based in the UK dedicated to studying the asbestos related disease.

Shadwick, who passed away from on July 28, 2008, was a respected journalist and author whose background as a jazz and rock musician in the 1970s led to a career focus on music and musicians. His credits include books on noted jazz musician , as well as Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. He also authored The Jazz & Blues Encyclopedia, the Guinness Guide to Classical Composers, and edited The Gramophone Good CD Guide. Additionally, he was a regular contributor to publications including Jazzwise magazine, The Independent and The Daily Mail.

According to an article published on All About, during his early 20s, Shadwick was a jazz and jazz/rock musician, playing saxophone, flute and piano. He was a founding member of the Sydney, Australia-based group, Sun, which released one self-titled album in 1972 before splitting up. In 1973 and 1974, the story reports, Shadwick and fellow Sun member, drummer Gary Norwell, recorded some jazz tracks with fellow musicians Justin McCoy and Robert Luckey when local Point Five Studio offered them use of its facility during a free downtime.

As a nod to their luck in securing the studio, the musicians named the album Free Time, but it was not completed or released. Shadwick held onto the tapes, and revived work on the recording in 1984, with guitarist Billy Jenkins, and again in 2005, with guitarist Mike Wollenberg.

All About Jazz notes that Shadwick was motivated to finish the album in 2005, when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and completed the project in 2007, although it is unlikely that he lived long enough to see its official pressing, which was delivered to his home right around the time of his death. The album was produced and released by Candid Records in the UK.

The Special Edition of the Free Time CD is available in limited release through the Candid Records web site, with all proceeds benefitting Bart’s Mesothelioma Research. Cost is £9.99 plus shipping, which totals around $24 U.S.

Why is EPA proposing relaxed asbestos rules?

6 Aug 2008 by under News, Organizations

The Environmental Protection Agency () Science Advisory Board (SAB) Asbestos Committee held public meetings July 21 and 22 in Washington, D.C., to discuss changes in the way it measures the risk posed by inhalation exposure to asbestos. Results of this meeting are coming under fire, as environmental groups, labor safety leaders, physicians, scientists and politicians object to the ’s proposed revised evaluation standards.

According to recent report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, there were 20 experts appointed to the SAB’s asbestos panel, charged with evaluating the validity of the EPA’s plan to change how the toxicity of the six types of asbestos regulated by the government differ in danger. Its findings would be submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

According to the PI report, scientific advisors say the EPA used the asbestos panel to submit new studies that contradict longstanding research into the dangers of asbestos. The new studies say chrysolite, in particular, the most common type of asbestos, isn’t dangerous and doesn’t cause mesothelioma.

PI quotes Dr. David Egilman, an occupational medicine specialist, who testified at the public meeting, as saying the new study was financed by mining and other asbestos-related industries, and said the studies have no scientific credibility.

Another vocal spokesperson at the hearing was Sen. Patty Murray, who sponsored S. 742, the Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007, which passed the Senate on Oct. 4, 2007. Currently, it is the companion bill to H.R. 3339, the Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act, sponsored by Rep. , which currently is in committee in the House of Representatives.

Sen. Murray has long been an advocate for a total asbestos ban, calling for better worker protection. The PI quotes Sen. Murray as telling the committee, “I’d like the political appointees at the EPA to look into the eyes of a mesothelioma patient and say that asbestos isn’t dangerous. It appears that this administration is once again putting politics before public health.” Murray is currently chairwoman of the Senate Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee.

The EPA asserts the new system is needed to improve how asbestos-contaminated Superfund sites are evaluated. The organization can move forward with its proposal without approval from the OMB or the SAB, if it so chooses.

CDC grant for possible Ground Zero illnesses

31 Jul 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced a new program to provide $30 million in grant money for health screenings, assessments, monitoring and tracking, and improved access to health care services and treatments for those who may have been impacted by the World Trade Center collapse on Sept. 11. The grant will be available not only to first responders and other workers, but also to hundreds of thousands of Manhattan residents who live or lived near the Twin Towers.

The buildings’ collapse released thousands of pounds of hazardous material into the atmosphere, which may have included a combination of glass, asbestos, fiberglass, pulverized concrete, lead, mercury, cadmium, dioxins and PCBs. Construction of the World Trade Center buildings was begun before the use of asbestos was banned in the U.S., and some estimates say as much as 400 tons of asbestos fiber was in the buildings.

People near Ground Zero could experience a number of medical problems as a result of their exposure to this toxic dust, including respiratory problems and including .

In an official release from the CDC, Christine Branche, acting director of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), said, “These public health dollars extend the reach of our efforts so that they help support the provision of the health care services to residents, students, an others who were in the vicinity of the attacks of September 11, 2001.”

The release says the NIOSH-administered grants provide up to $10 million per year for three years, and the money can be used to help cover gaps when individuals’ public or private insurance is insufficient to fully cover the costs associated with care or treatment.

Funding will be provided to one to three organizations, with the deadline for proposal submission set for Aug. 25, 2008. For more information about how to apply for one of these grants, visit The CDC encourages health and medical care facilities to apply.

The CDC says it already has invested at least $925 million in programs to support responders to the 9/11 emergency.

‘Last Lecture’ professer has passed away

25 Jul 2008 by under News

In the first days of writing this blog, I linked to a very inspirational video by Dr. Randy Pausch, popularly called The Last Lecture. Pausch, a 47-year-old Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, and created the lecture to inspire others to make the most of the time they have here on earth.

Based on the idea of “living your childhood dreams,” the lecture is a reflection on what would be most important to a person if they had to choose the last talk of their life – the things they would want to share with others.

Dr. Pausch passed away today, at the age of 47. He is survived by his wife, Jai, and their three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe; his mother, Pausch of Columbia, Md.; and a sister, Tamara Mason of Lynchburg, Va.

Please take the time to watch this video. I hope that it inspires you to live your dreams.

Chemo combo highly effective for mesothelioma

22 Jul 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

Researchers in Denmark have discovered a chemotherapy combination that is proving to be highly effective for people with non-resectable malignant mesothelioma, according to a recent report on The study was published in a June issue of the British Journal of Cancer.

According to the report, the study evaluated a regimen of Navelbine (vinorelbine) and Platinol (cisplatin) for the treatment of 54 patients with newly diagnosed non-resectable mesothelioma. The median number of cycles of chemotherapy administered was four. There were two complete responses and 14 partial responses.

The median survival was 16.8 months, and the median time to tumor progression was 7.2 months. The one-year survival was 61 percent, the two-year survival was 31 percent, and the three-year survival was 4 percent.

The authors of the study say these results are as good as or better than currently used combinations for treatment of mesothelioma.

Asbestos, mesothelioma bill still in committee

16 Jul 2008 by under Events, News

This is a reminder to those who haven’t yet contacted their representative in U.S. about H.R. 3339, the Bruce Vento Ban Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act. Please take the time to do this right now! It’s very important to let your Representative on Capitol Hill know that you support this measure to finally ban asbestos in the U.S. and provide funding for mesothelioma research.

The bill is currently in committee, with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Even if your district’s representative is not on this committee, it is important to let him or her know that you support the bill so that they know how to vote. The more voices they hear from their constituency, the better chance they will pay attention when this finally comes to the House floor.

If your representative IS a member of this committee, it is even more important. Many bills “die” in committee, never making it to a vote of the full House or Senate. Please make sure your representative helps get this bill approved in committee and to the floor for its vote.

My representative, Terry Everett (2nd District, Alabama), acknowledged his receipt of my request with a letter, in which he said he will keep my thoughts in mind should the bill make it to the floor, although he is not a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

According to information provided by Everett’s office, H.R. 3339 would require several actions to be taken by the federal government in addressing asbestos and its harmful effects. The Environmental Protection Agency () would establish a plan to increase awareness of the dangers posed by asbestos-containing materials in homes and workplaces and encourage participation in research and treatment endeavors of asbestos-related disease patients.

The bill also would require the disposal of asbestos-containing materials within two years and the prohibition on the importing, manufacturing, processing or distributing of asbestos-containing materials, except for specific exemptions sought by the Department of Defense and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

If you are not sure of the representative for your Congressional District, visit the House of Representatives online. You can also find out here if your representative is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Please take the time to do this today. Your one voice is SO important. Let it join thousands of others to finally make a real difference.

ONCONASE expands to Israel as meso concerns there grow

15 Jul 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

Today Alfacell, the manufacturer of ONCONASE, announced it will begin distribution of the mesothelioma drug in Israel. The company will partner with Megapharm, Ltd., a leading pharmaceutical company in Israel. ONCONASE recently completed an international confirmatory Phase IIIb clinical trial for unresectable malignant mesothelioma.

The news comes just a day after, a leading news outlet in Israel, noted that asbestos-related cancer is 10 times more prevalent in Nahariya, a city of approximately 50,000 located in the North District of Israel on the Mediterranean sea, just south of the Lebanese border at Rosh HaNikra, than it is in the rest of the country. The report is based on data submitted by the chief doctor of the Health Ministry’s Acre District.

The medical report was presented to the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee, which is currently calling for greater action from Nahariya’s government to address the problem. The story quotes Tamar Bar On, head of the Environment Ministry’s Asbestos Department, as saying that “between 70 to 150 thousand cubic meters of asbestos [can] be found scattered across the Western Galilee, mainly in private yards.”

Committee MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz) has been selected by the committee to chair a panel dedicated to addressing the asbestos problem in Nahariya.

Alfacell will manufacture and supply ONCONASE to Megapharm, while Megapharm will be responsible for all activities and costs related to regulatory filings and commercial activities in a defined marketing territory, according to an Alfacell press release.

ONCONASE is a first-in-class therapeutic product candidate based on Alfacell’s proprietary ribonuclease (RNase) technology. A natural protein isolated from the leopard frog, ONCONASE has been shown in the laboratory and clinic to target cancer cells while sparing normal cells. ONCONASE triggers apoptosis, the natural death of cells, via multiple molecular mechanisms of action.

ONCONASE has been granted fast track status and orphan-drug designation for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma by the . Additionally, ONCONASE has been granted orphan-drug designation in the European Union and Australia.