Compensation upheld for Perth man who died after asbestos exposure at SA BHP shipyard

The lawyer representing a man who died from an asbestos-related illness says a High Court decision upholding his compensation sets an important legal precedent for former BHP Billiton workers who contract mesothelioma.

The Sydney court rejected the company’s bid to appeal against a compensation claim awarded to Perth man Willem van Soest who was exposed to asbestos during an 11-week stint as a painter and docker at South Australia’s Whyalla Shipyard in 1962.

At the time he was working near laggers who were installing asbestos insulation around pipes and boilers.

Mr van Soest was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2012 and died the next year aged 74….

[Article continues at original source]

Source: Compensation upheld for Perth man who died after asbestos exposure at SA BHP shipyard

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Paradigm-Changing Triplet Therapy for Mesothelioma

The standard of care for mesothelioma has not changed for a decade, but it should now, say experts.

The call for change was prompted by the results showing that bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech) added to the current standard of care (SOC) pemetrexed and cisplatin — provides significantly longer overall survival (OS) vs the SOC when used first-line in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The new data come from the French Cooperative Thoracic Intergroup (IFCT) MAPS study, reported at an oral session at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2015 annual meeting.

The triplet of pemetrexed, cisplatin, and bevacizumab is a new treatment paradigm for pleural mesothelioma patients eligible for bevacizumab not amenable to curative surgery, concluded lead author Gerard Zalcman, MD. Discussing these data at a Highlights of the Day session, Natasha Leighl, MD, from Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Canada, said that these data were “practice changing” for patients with mesothelioma.

[Article continues at original source]

Source:  Paradigm-Changing Triplet Therapy for Mesothelioma

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Recent California Mesothelioma Lawsuit Trial Verdict Involving Asbestos Exposure From Talcum Powder Use By Woman

Back in November 2014 we wrote a couple of articles about the relatively little known fact that one’s past use of beauty or cosmetic products that had asbestos-contaminated talc can cause mesothelioma many years later. We pointed out that asbestos-contaminated talc is found in many personal-use products — cosmetics, body powder, baby powder, and the talc used by barbers.

To learn more about talcum powder exposure causing mesothelioma, you can read those two articles:

The Use Of Beauty Or Cosmetic Products That Had Asbestos-Contaminated Talc May Be The Cause Of That Mysterious, Non-traditional Mesothelioma Case

Mesothelioma And Cancers Caused By Asbestos-Contaminated Talc In Body Powder Products And Cosmetics: New Scientific Study Provides Evidence Of Asbestos Fibers In Talc

Now we want to let you know about a recent mesothelioma lawsuit verdict in California concerning a woman’s use of asbestos-contaminated talc product, Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive Co.

From this April 29, 2015 news report, “Woman awarded $13 million from Colgate-Palmolive for asbestos exposure from talcum powder”, we get this information about that legal case:

A Los Angeles jury awarded $13 million to a 73-year-old woman who contracted a deadly disease from using asbestos-containing talcum powder manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Jurors deliberated for two hours Tuesday before finding that New York-based Colgate was 95 percent responsible for Judith Winkel’s mesothelioma, a fatal lung disease, according to her lawyers. The verdict included $1.4 million in damages for her husband.

Winkel’s lawyers said she got the rare cancer from using Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder….

Jurors found the company negligent for the design, manufacture or sale of the product and found that it presented a substantial danger that they failed to warn consumers about.

Colgate, which sold Cashmere Bouquet in 1995, said it was disappointed with the verdict….

An appeals court in New Jersey recently affirmed a $1.6 million verdict awarded to a man with mesothelioma who said he got the disease from cosmetic talc.

In Winkel’s case, there will be no appeal. She and Colgate reached a confidential settlement Wednesday before the jury was set to hear evidence to determine punitive damages.

We will continue to watch for other mesothelioma lawsuits and trial verdicts involving asbestos exposure from talcum powder.

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New “Orphan Drug” For Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM), CRS-207, Has Been Approved By FDA

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a form of cancer that affects the smooth layer of mesothelial cells that surround the lungs, is the most common form of mesothelioma and accounts for approximately new 3,000 cases a year in the US.

Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive disease with a poor prognosis and most patients are not candidates for surgical resection. According to medical studies, the expected median progression-free survival for a person with pleural mesothelioma is 5.7 months and overall survival is 12.1 months with combination pemetrexed and cisplatin chemotherapy.

The tumor-associated antigen mesothelin is overexpressed in virtually all cases of mesothelioma.

This new pleural mesothelioma treatment, CRS-207, has been engineered to express the tumor-associated antigen mesothelin, which is over-expressed in many cancers including mesothelioma.

From the March 2015 company press release about this FDA action, “Aduro Receives Orphan Drug Designation for CRS-207 in Mesothelioma”:

Aduro is developing CRS-207 for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma who have not received prior therapy and are not eligible for surgical resection. Patients are currently being enrolled in a single-arm Phase 1b clinical trial of CRS-207 in combination with standard-of-care chemotherapy. Interim results presented at the International Mesothelioma Interest Group Conference in October 2014 demonstrated a 94% rate of disease control (partial response and stable disease) for the 16 treated, evaluable patients with response data. Specifically, 75% (12/16) had confirmed partial responses and 19% (3/16) experienced stable disease. At the time of the presentation, estimated progression-free survival was 7.5 months, with one patient on study for more than 19 months. That patient is currently receiving maintenance therapy with CRS-207 alone following the combination treatment with chemotherapy. Based on these encouraging results, Aduro opened an expansion cohort of up to a total of 40 patients and expects to finish enrollment in the study in 2015, with top-line results presented in 2016.

We will continue to monitor the progress of these clinical trials for this new pleural mesothelioma treatment CRS-207 and report significant developments here.

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With The Worldwide Incidence Of Mesothelioma Increasing, A Commentator Says That Failure Of New Possible Medical Treatment “adds to this dreary scenario”

From the Abstract for a recent medical journal article about a possible mesothelioma treatment, we get this disappointing news:

In this randomised trial, vorinostat given as a second-line or third-line therapy did not improve overall survival and cannot be recommended as a therapy for patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma.

To read more, see “Vorinostat in patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma who have progressed on previous chemotherapy (VANTAGE-014): a phase 3, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial”, which was published online by The Lancet yesterday, March 19, 2015 (“Online First”).

Related to that article is is this commentary piece, “A lesson from vorinostat in pleural mesothelioma”, by Marina Chiara Garassino, who is affiliated with the Clinical Trial Unit, Istituto di Candiolo, FPO-IRCCS, Turin, Italy.

From that item we get this dire assessment of the current medical situation as regards treatment options for mesothelioma patients:

Although the worldwide incidence of mesothelioma is increasing because of asbestos exposure, there are few treatment options in development for this lethal disease. Surgery is no longer regarded as a standard treatment because the disease is already systemic at onset, the role of radiotherapy is at best controversial, and systemic treatment plateaued in 2002 with the approval of pemetrexed. The negative results of the VANTAGE-014 study by Lee Krug and colleagues — a phase 3 trial comparing vorinostat, a histone-deacetylase inhibitor, with placebo, with median overall survival as the primary objective — adds to this dreary scenario.   [footnotes omitted]

Certainly we hope there comes better news about what can be done for people diagnosed with mesothelioma sooner rather than later.

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Selected Mesothelioma Patients May Benefit From New Medical Treatment With Brentuximab Vedotin, An Antibody–Drug

On the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics medical journal website we found this encouraging article about a new mesothelioma treatment, “CD30 Is a Potential Therapeutic Target in Malignant Mesothelioma”.

From the Abstract from this early-online February 2015 medical journal article, which is relatively “technical”, we get this specific information about the most recent development in mesothelioma therapy:

CD30 is a cytokine receptor belonging to the TNF superfamily (TNFRSF8) that acts as a regulator of apoptosis….  There have been sporadic reports of CD30 expression in nonlymphoid tumors, including malignant mesothelioma. Given the remarkable success of brentuximab vedotin, an antibody–drug conjugate directed against CD30 antigen, in lymphoid malignancies, we undertook a study to examine the incidence of CD30 in mesothelioma and to investigate the ability to target CD30 antigen in mesothelioma….  Our studies validate the presence of CD30 antigen in a subgroup of epithelial-type mesothelioma tumors and indicate that selected mesothelioma patients may derive benefit from brentuximab vedotin treatment.

While our newly discovered treatment for mesothelioma may be limited to only certain patients, any advancement in caring for patients with this asbestos-related cancer is welcomed news.

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Another Mesothelioma Treatment From Verastem (VS-5584) Is Given “Orphan Drug” Status By FDA In Early 2015

In mid-February 2015 we learned that a new treatment for malignant mesothelioma will be available in the US.

From this article, “FDA grants orphan drug designation to VS-5584 for mesothelioma”, we get the following information:

The FDA granted orphan drug designation to VS-5584 for the treatment of mesothelioma, according to a press release from the drug’s manufacturer….

“This is an important regulatory milestone for Verastem and, together with our European orphan medicinal product designation, will facilitate our global development of VS-5584 to help improve the available treatment options for patients suffering from this highly aggressive cancer,” Robert Forrester, president and CEO of Verastem, said in a press release. “We look forward to taking full advantage of the opportunities that orphan designation allows in order to bring this potential new treatment option to patients as rapidly as possible.”

Verastem is currently conducting a phase 1 study to evaluate the combination of VS-5584 and VS-6063 (defactinib) in patients with relapsed or progressive malignant pleural mesothelioma. Preclinical data demonstrated synergistic activity of VS-5584 and defactinib in mesothelioma models in vitro and in vivo.

We have reported on Verastem’s earlier mesothelioma treatment, VS-6063, over the past couple of years in these articles:

Of course we will continue to monitor developments announced by Veratstem and other medical companies working on new treatments for mesothelioma.

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The Basic Facts About Malignant Mesothelioma: Asbestos Cancer with Three Types; Diagnosis and Staging Information; General Medical Treatment Options

Malignant mesothelioma, or cancer of the mesothelium, is a disease in which cells in the mesothelium become abnormal and divide uncontrollably. The abnormal cells can metastasize and spread to nearby tissues and organs, resulting in malignant mesothelioma.

In more detail, mesothelioma affects the lining or covering of the affected body part — such as (1) the lung, if it is pleural mesothelioma, or (2) the abdomen, if it is peritoneal mesothelioma, or (3) the heart, if it is pericardial mesothelioma. Each of these three different types of mesothelioma will sometimes be called just “meso”, for short.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer. Approximately 2,000 to 3,000 cases are diagnosed each year, but the incidence rates are increasing. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women, and a major risk factor is a history of occupational exposure to asbestos. The risk of developing mesothelioma increases with heavier asbestos exposure, but there have been cases of individuals with relatively minimal asbestos dust exposure many years ago later developing mesothelioma. Family members of asbestos workers are also at increased risk for developing mesothelioma if exposed to asbestos dust brought home on clothing.

For more about the basic facts of malignant mesothelioma, see:


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Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act: Back Again In 2015, And Still Unfair To US Mesothelioma Victims Who Are Entitled To Legal Compensation

About two years ago we posted this article, “Protect Asbestos Victims: Reasons To Oppose H.R. 982, the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013”.

Now at the start of 2015 we have to have to report that the FACT Act is back.

As it was before, this pending legislation would make it more difficult for asbestos victims to receive a “day in court” and receive the legal compensation they deserve for their mesothelioma lawsuit or asbestos-related lung cancer claim. Essentially, the “new” FACT Act (H.R. 526) would both violate asbestos victims’ privacy and allow asbestos corporations to delay justice until asbestos victims die.

For more specifics about this unfortunate but not surprising legislative development we turn to a January 2015 item from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “FACT Act Favors Asbestos Industry Over Justice, Public Health”:

Legislation re-introduced by Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, would place new burdens on asbestos bankruptcy trusts, slowing compensation to victims suffering from fatal asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, EWG Action Fund said today.

The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (HR. 526), or FACT Act, would specifically require the bankruptcy trusts to issue quarterly reports disclosing detailed information about individuals seeking compensation, resulting in significant delays and unnecessary burdens for victims….

As EWG Action Fund documented in its groundbreaking investigation “Asbestos: Think Again”, thousands of Americans die each year from asbestos-related diseases. In addition to lung cancer and other illnesses, exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma, an extremely painful and fatal cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs, stomach and other organs. Mesothelioma requires expensive medical treatment and often kills sufferers within months of being diagnosed.

We agree with the position taken by this EWG item, which had as a sub-headline:  “Would waste assets meant to help victims, invade privacy and delay compensation”.

Those few words capture all that is wrong with this Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2015 legislation.

Tell your lawmakers to do the right thing and reject the FACT Act.

Click here to tell your U.S. Representative to oppose the FACT Act (H.R. 526) TODAY!

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Occupational Exposure To Asbestos Dust Or Secondhand Household Exposure Can Result In Mesothelioma Years Later

Over at our website we have a list of questions about job sites or work places where workers were likely to have had direct exposure to asbestos dust if they worked there before the mid-1970’s. See: “Brief Test For Asbestos Exposure Based On Worker’s Employment History”.

In turn, those workers may be at an increased risk of getting an asbestos disease such as asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma later in life.

In addition, family members of those people who worked around asbestos on the job site or in the work place may have had so-called “secondhand” asbestos exposure. This could come from household activities such as washing the worker’s clothing or, even more unexpectedly, from simply giving a welcome-home hug daily upon the worker getting back to the house each day. See: “How Members Of Worker’s Family Have Been Exposed To Asbestos And Developed Mesothelioma Many Years Later”.

This more limited exposure to asbestos dust may put these family members at an increased risk of getting mesothelioma later in life.

The bottom line is that the risk of developing mesothelioma increases with heavier asbestos exposure. However, there have been cases of individuals with relatively minimal asbestos dust exposure many years ago later developing mesothelioma, such as the family members of asbestos workers.

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