Age should not preclude patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma from surgery

 Age alone should not be an exclusion criterion for extended pleurectomy decortication among elderly patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, according to a review of prospectively collected data presented at the European Lung Cancer Conference.

However, a thorough presurgical assessment of nodal disease and fitness is necessary before older patients undergo adjuvant chemotherapy, according to the researchers. These factors appeared to have a greater negative impact in older patients than younger patients.

Extended pleurectomy decortication (EPD) has been preferred over extrapleural pneumonectomy for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma who meet strict criteria, according to the researchers.

Although EPD has shown feasibility for elderly patients, debate continues regarding the efficacy of this procedure for older patients.

Annabel J. Sharkey, MBChB , a thoracic surgeon at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, United Kingdom, and colleagues sought to review data regarding EPD safety and efficacy for elderly patients.

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Source: Age should not preclude patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma from surgery

 


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After 16 Years, Pittsburgh Corning Exits Asbestos-Related Bankruptcy

After more than 16 years under court protection, Pittsburgh Corning Corp., the joint venture between PPG Industries Inc. and Corning Inc., emerged from its asbestos-related bankruptcy Wednesday.

The Pittsburgh Corning plan channels claims against the company’s non-bankrupt parents to a $3.5 billion trust that was set up under the plan to absorb asbestos liabilities. The trust, one of the country’s largest, is being funded by PPG, Corning and their insurers.

Pittsburgh Corning, a maker of glass-based insulation materials used in construction and oil and gas pipelines, spent the first five years in bankruptcy on protecting and preserving its assets.

“When it became apparent that Pittsburgh Corning’s time in bankruptcy was going to be extended, our focus expanded to include strategic actions designed to reinvent our business,” said James R. Kane, the company’s chief executive.

Pittsburgh Corning is one of many large companies attempting to use bankruptcy to survive an onslaught of claims for asbestos damage. The bankruptcy code allows companies to set up trust funds to pay claims, insulating their future operating funds from potential liabilities.

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Source: After 16 Years, Pittsburgh Corning Exits Asbestos-Related Bankruptcy

 


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Immunotherapy With Live Bacterium Improves Response Rate in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

ELCC 2016 Press Release: Immunotherapy With Live Bacterium Improves Response Rate in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Date: 14 Apr 2016Topic: Lung and other thoracic tumours / Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy

GENEVA, Switzerland – Immunotherapy with a live bacterium combined with chemotherapy demonstrated more than 90% disease control and 59% response rate in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), according to the results of a phase Ib trial presented today at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung and is rare but difficult to treat,” said Prof Thierry Jahan, professor of medicine at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco, US. “Standard of care treatment with pemetrexed and platinum compound chemotherapy gets a 30% response rate but a modest impact on survival. So there is a clear unmet need in targeting this specific population.

”Patients with MPM strongly express the mesothelin antigen in the tumour. CRS-207 is a live, attenuated Listeria monocytogenes bacterium that contains two gene deletions to diminish its pathogenicity and has also been engineered to express mesothelin.“

In our early studies, CRS-207 induced an anti-mesothelin response and cellular tumour specific immunity in patients with mesothelin expressing tumours,” said Jahan. “We also have data suggesting that this immunotherapy works synergistically with chemotherapy, so testing the effect of this immune targeting agent with chemotherapy was a natural step.”

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Source: ELCC 2016 Press Release: Immunotherapy With Live Bacterium Improves Response Rate in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma | ESMO

 


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Justices Consider Any-Exposure Theory

As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in Rost v. Ford Motor over use of the “any exposure” theory by an expert witness in an asbestos trial, the discussion dipped into the territory of “magic words” and hypothetical questions, but one question remained at the core of the conversation: Did Dr. Arthur Frank lay out a sufficient basis for his testimony that Richard Rost’s exposure to Ford Motor Co. products was a causative factor in his developing mesothelioma?

According to Robert L. Byer of Duane Morris, arguing on behalf of Ford, Frank responded to a hypothetical proposed to him by indicating that any exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma. In attempting to further explain his opinion, Byer said, Frank reverted to a theory of cumulative exposure that Byer said is indistinguishable from the any-exposure theory the Supreme Court has said cannot be introduced.

Steven Cooperstein of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler, arguing for Rost, contended that Frank at no time said “each and every breath” is substantially causative. Frank testified that “‘any exposure that can be documented would … play a role and be causative,'” according to Rost’s brief, but Cooperstein said that isn’t the same as opining that any exposure is causative.

“The subtlety of your distinction is lost on me,” Justice Max Baer said.

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Source: Justices Consider Any-Exposure Theory, Asbestos Consolidation

 


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Cahill Gordon, BASF Can’t Escape Asbestos Fraud Suit

A federal judge in Newark has denied a motion by New York-based Cahill, Gordon & Reindel and two of its attorneys seeking to be dismissed from a putative class action suit claiming they conspired with a client to destroy and fabricate evidence in thousands of asbestos injury cases. The judge also denied motions to dismiss Cahill Gordon’s alleged accomplice in the fraud, BASF Catalysts, along with two former in-house lawyers for the company.

The plaintiffs sufficiently stated facts to support claims of fraudulent concealment, spoliation, fraud and civil conspiracy against the defendants. U.S. District Judge Jose Linares of the District of New Jersey said in an April 5 ruling in Williams v. BASF Catalysts Inc.. His ruling follows a decision by U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler in 2012 dismissing the case in its entirety and a partial reversal of that decision in 2014 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Cahill Gordon faces the class action over its role in defending BASF in a series of asbestos exposure suits concerning products containing talc from a company-owned mine in Vermont. Internal testing indicated that the talc contained asbestos, but BASF maintained that the product was asbestos-free, according to court documents. When it was named in an asbestos injury suit in 1979, a BASF predecessor, Engelhard, retained Cahill Gordon. Testimony in that suit, identified in court papers as the Westfall case, revealed that multiple tests performed by Engelhard employees and third parties showed the company’s talc contained asbestos, court documents said.

The plaintiffs allege that after the first case was settled, with a confidentiality clause in the agreement, BASF scientist Glenn Hemstock circulated a memo directing company employees to purge all materials relating to the asbestos-containing talc. The plaintiffs also accuse Cahill Gordon and BASF of procuring false representations from company employees and outside experts, and including false or misleading information in court filings. The alleged scheme came to light in 2009, when a former BASF researcher testified that he knew the company’s talc contained asbestos and that the Vermont mine was shut down for that reason. Between 1984 and 2009, BASF and Cahill Gordon made misrepresentations to thousands of claimants in asbestos injury suits around the country, the plaintiffs claim.

[Article continues at original source]

Source: Cahill Gordon, BASF Can’t Escape Asbestos Fraud Suit | New Jersey Law Journal

 


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Cancer-causing asbestos at center of complex Indiana legal battle

Larry Myers worked 40 years as an electrician, unaware he had been handling materials that could cause his death.

For the past two years, the 78-year-old man from Northern Indiana has been embroiled in a contentious legal battle against a number of manufacturers who he claims knowingly produced products that caused malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that typically kills within a year of diagnosis. Myers was diagnosed on March 17, 2014, 15 years after he retired.

The cancer, doctors told him, resulted from years of exposure to asbestos in materials he had used, worked with and been around as an electrician. He also smoked a brand of cigarettes that had filters containing asbestos, according to court records.

The complex litigation reached the Indiana Supreme Court in early 2015. At issue is the constitutionality of a section of Indiana’s Product Liability Act called the statute of repose, which created a 10-year cutoff for allowing plaintiffs to sue manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. According to the statute, the 10-year countdown starts when a product reaches a user or consumer.

That posed a problem for Myers. Mesothelioma and other diseases caused by exposure to asbestos take decades to manifest themselves, sometimes up to 50 years. Indiana denied Myers any legal recourse because he became sick  after the 10-year cutoff had passed. And unlike the state’s statute of limitations, which starts from the time a person discovers an injury, the repose could expire well before the injury occurs or is discovered.

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Source: Cancer-causing asbestos at center of complex Indiana legal battle

 


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My husband died after asbestos exposure. He would be outraged by this legislation.

For 18 years, my husband and I would go out on a date once a month. We’d wander through downtown, do our grocery shopping and then go out for a nice dinner at a restaurant. When he got too weak to walk far, he would sit in the car while I shopped. Eventually, he was too weak to even leave the house, and I would call him on his cellphone and talk to him while I did the groceries. My husband died of mesothelioma in December of 2011.

On Monday [April 4, 2016], Maine legislators will vote on a bill, LD 1181, that would devastate the civil rights of Mainers who are suffering from mesothelioma. The bill would prevent families like ours from holding the company responsible for exposing our loved one to asbestos accountable, as long as the company was later acquired by another company. It’s a bailout, and it would do nothing to help victims like my late husband. And it would shift the burdens of asbestos disease to the victims and social service providers in Maine. I can’t help but think of how outraged my husband would be that this bill is even being considered.

For years my husband suffered with debilitating pain, needing numerous trips to the hospital. Fluid had to be drained from his lungs twice; the second time the fluid was too thick to even go through the needle. It wasn’t until 2011, the day of our anniversary, that doctors suspected he had mesothelioma and did the biopsy that confirmed it was mesothelioma.

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Source: My husband died after asbestos exposure. He would be outraged by this legislation — Opinion — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

 


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University of Bradford research shows promise for treatment of lethal cancer mesothelioma

A new drug, developed by a cancer expert at the University of Bradford, is showing promise as a treatment for one of the most lethal cancers.

The drug, known as HRX9, is being used to treat mesothelioma works by preventing the cancer cells from avoiding apoptosis – the natural process by which unhealthy and damaged cells close themselves down and die.

Professor Richard Morgan, from the University of Bradford’s Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, developed the drug and led the research.

He said: “Both the immune system and nearby healthy cells send signals instructing damaged and unhealthy cells to undergo apoptosis, which is like programmed ‘cell suicide’. But cancer cells have developed a wide range of strategies to ignore these instructions.

“There’s a range of drugs which try to force apoptosis in different cancers, but this is the first one to work in mesothelioma.”

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Source: University of Bradford research shows promise for treatment of lethal cancer mesothelioma

 


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Aduro’s CRS-207 for Mesothelioma Wins Orphan Drug Status From EMA

Aduro’s CRS-207 for Mesothelioma Wins Orphan Drug Status From EMA

The European Medicines Agency has granted Aduro Biotech’s mesothelioma candidate orphan drug designation.

Given orphan status by the FDA in March, CRS-207 immunotherapy is being tested alongside standard chemotherapy in a Phase 1b study for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The drugmaker says it will launch a similar Phase 3 trial in the first half of next year, skipping mid-stage research to propel the candidate forward.

[Article continues at original source]

 

(Source: http://www.fdanews.com/articles/174296-aduros-crs-207-for-mesothelioma-wins-orphan-drug-status-from-ema)

 


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Mesothelioma Gene Study ID’s Possible Treatment Targets 

A comprehensive genomic analysis of more than 200 mesothelioma tumor samples has identified previously unknown genetic mutations, including several that may prove to be actionable right now for diagnosis and treatment of the deadly lung cancer, researchers say.

Investigators from the International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, working with researchers from Genentech, analyzed 216 malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) samples to establish the full range of mutations for the rare cancer, which is usually caused by environmental exposure to asbestos.

Ten significantly mutated MPM genes were identified, and recurrent mutations were also found in several genes, including SF3B1 and TRAF7, Brigham and Women’s researcher Raphael Bueno, MD, and colleagues wrote online in the journal Nature Genetics.

“This is by far the largest and most comprehensive genetic analysis of this cancer, and it pretty much establishes what genetic mutations exist in mesothelioma,” Bueno told MedPage Today. “Some were previously known, but some were not.”

[Article continues at original source]

 

Source: Mesothelioma Gene Study ID’s Possible Treatment Targets | Medpage Today

 


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