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.

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(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.”

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

 


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AstraZeneca reports top-line result of tremelimumab monotherapy trial in mesothelioma

Trial did not meet primary endpoint of improving overall survival in challenging to treat mesothelioma patients with no currently approved treatment options in the second-line setting

Tremelimumab remains key component of Immuno-Oncology combination strategy across multiple tumour types

AstraZeneca and MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, today announced that DETERMINE, the Phase IIb clinical trial of 10 mg/kg tremelimumab monotherapy in second or third-line treatment of unresectable malignant mesothelioma, did not meet its primary endpoint of overall survival.

Robert Iannone, Senior Vice President, Head of Immuno-Oncology, Global Medicines Development at AstraZeneca, said: “We are disappointed that tremelimumab monotherapy did not demonstrate a survival benefit in this patient population with no approved medicines beyond first-line treatment. However, we remain confident in tremelimumab’s clinical activity in combination, as shown in our recently published Study 006 trial of tremelimumab and durvalumab in non-small cell lung cancer.”

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Source:  AstraZeneca reports top-line result of tremelimumab monotherapy trial in mesothelioma


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Ford spent $40 million to reshape asbestos science

The lawyer, Darrell Grams, explained that Ford had been losing lawsuits filed by former auto mechanics alleging asbestos in brakes had given them mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer virtually always tied to asbestos exposure. Grams asked Paustenbach, then a vice president with the consulting firm Exponent, if he had any interest in studying the disease’s possible association with brake work. A meeting cemented the deal.

Paustenbach, a prolific author of scientific papers who’d worked with Grams on Dow Corning’s defense against silicone breast-implant illness claims, had barely looked at asbestos to that point. “I really started to get serious about studying asbestos after I met Mr. Grams, that’s for sure,” Paustenbach testified in a sworn deposition in June 2015. Before that, he said, the topic “wasn’t that interesting to me.”

Thus began a relationship that, according to recent depositions, has enriched Exponent by $18.2 million and brought another $21 million to Cardno ChemRisk, a similar firm Paustenbach founded in 1985, left and restarted in 2003. All told, testimony shows, Ford has spent nearly $40 million funding journal articles and expert testimony concluding there is no evidence brake mechanics are at increased risk of developing mesothelioma. This finding, repeated countless times in courtrooms and law offices over the past 15 years, is an attempt at scientific misdirection aimed at extricating Ford from lawsuits, critics say.

“They’ve published a lot, but they’ve really produced no new science,” said John Dement, a professor in Duke University’s Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and an asbestos researcher for more than four decades. “Fifteen years ago, I thought the issue of asbestos risk assessment was pretty much defined. All they’ve accomplished is to try to generate doubt where, really, little doubt existed.”

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Source: Center for Public Integrity


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Senate Committee Ponders Asbestos Trust Transparency

Senate Committee Ponders Asbestos Trust Transparency

Sharply differing views on the need for asbestos bankruptcy trust reforms dominated a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Feb. 3, as proponents of an overhaul bill complained of abusive litigation tactics, while opponents said the bill protects asbestos companies at the expense of mesothelioma victims.

The Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act would amend Section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code to require each asbestos bankruptcy trust to file a report with the bankruptcy court every quarter that “describes each demand the trust received from, including the name and exposure history of, a claimant and the basis for any payment from the trust made to such claimant.”

Some witnesses said the FACT Act would bring needed transparency in asbestos litigation trusts—and deter “rampant” abuse by plaintiff lawyers—but others said it would assist asbestos companies in maintaining secrecy about their products as they insist on transparency by plaintiffs.

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Source: Senate Committee Ponders Asbestos Trust Transparency


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Company Sanctioned for Not Preserving Asbestos Documents

A company that made asbestos products in the 1980s should have anticipated it would be sued, and therefore the destruction of dozens of boxes of related documents in the 1990s was spoliation requiring sanction, a Manhattan state judge has ruled.

Justice Peter Moulton rejected claims by J-M Manufacturing Company, one of the defendants in Warren v. Amchem Products, 190281/2014, that there had to be notice of a specific claim or pending litigation to trigger a requirement to preserve documents through a “litigation hold.”

“Every corporation which reasonably anticipates litigation must preserve relevant evidence,” Moulton said in a Nov. 9 opinion.

Even when litigation doesn’t start until 25 years after the products at issue were discontinued, he said “it is neither unfair nor overly burdensome for a company to place a litigation hold for a time period commensurate with the nature and risks of the product.”

He added: “Were this otherwise, companies with knowledge of the dangers of asbestos could intentionally destroy relevant evidence, while simultaneously knowing that due to the long latency period of asbestos-related diseases, they would not be sued until decades later.”

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Source: Company Sanctioned for Not Preserving Asbestos Documents

 


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Bevacizumab for Newly Diagnosed Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Adding bevacizumab to cisplatin and pemetrexed improves survival, but at a cost of higher toxicity.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a challenging disease with few treatment options. In chemo-naive patients, pemetrexed plus a platinum agent remains the standard of care. To determine the potential benefit of adding bevacizumab to this regimen, French investigators conducted a randomized, controlled, open-label, phase III trial in which 448 patients with chemotherapy-naive, unresectable MPM received pemetrexed and cisplatin (PC) or pemetrexed and cisplatin plus bevacizumab (PCB) for 6 cycles; bevacizumab was continued as maintenance therapy in the PCB group….

Comment

This is the first randomized study to demonstrate efficacy of a triplet regimen and an anti-angiogenic agent for MPM patients. However, the associated toxicities require close monitoring of patients and limitations in patient eligibility. Moreover, this trial was strict in age eligibility (<76 years), and 97% of patients had performance-status 0–1. In addition, although it is common in the US (despite lack of randomized data) to give maintenance pemetrexed after 4–6 cycles of platinum-pemetrexed, this was not done in the current trial. Thus, it is unknown whether this triplet regimen with bevacizumab would provide a similar survival benefit compared with platinum-pemetrexed plus maintenance pemetrexed. Additional front-line anti-angiogenic trials are under way to assess other combination regimens, including pemetrexed and cisplatin plus cediranib (NCT01064648) and pemetrexed and cisplatin plus nintedanib (NCT01907100).

 

Source: Bevacizumab for Newly Diagnosed Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Wisconsin appeals court reinstates asbestos lawsuit against Pabst, Miller

A Wisconsin appeals court reinstated portions of a woman’s lawsuit Tuesday that alleges asbestos exposure at two of Milwaukee’s signature brewing companies played a role in her steamfitter husband’s death.

Sandra Brezonick’s lawsuit alleges her husband, John Brezonick, contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at a number of Milwaukee-area industrial sites between 1996 and 2000. The lawsuit includes nearly a dozen defendants, including Pabst Brewing Company and Miller Brewing Company.

A judge last year dismissed her claims against Pabst, Miller, Sprinkmann Sons Corporation and Wisconsin Electric Power Company. She said a state law that prohibits lawsuits over injuries resulting from work to improve property shields them because John Brezonick’s work amounted to such improvements. The 1st District Court of Appeals reversed that decision, finding that the companies failed to prove his work amounted to improvements rather than repairs.

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Source: Wisconsin appeals court reinstates asbestos lawsuit against Pabst, Miller

 


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America’s ‘Third Wave’ Of Asbestos Disease Upends Lives

Everything seemed to be going smoothly for 39-year-old Kris Penny, who pulled fiber-optic cables for a living. Then he got a cancer called mesothelioma that’s almost always tied to asbestos exposure.

Until the morning of Sept. 25, 2014, life was treating Kris Penny well. His flooring company had just secured its first big contract.

But that morning, Penny, of Clermont, Fla., was feeling lethargic. He pulled into a McDonald’s for a cup of orange juice. Seconds after he drank it he doubled over in pain. “It felt like someone stabbed me in the stomach with a machete,” he said. A co-worker drove him to the emergency room.

When he awoke in the hospital, his wife, Lori McNamara, was beside him, crying. “I go, ‘What’s the matter? I’m still here,’ ” Penny said. The surgeon who’d opened up his abdomen had found it full of cancer — type to be determined. The doctor “pretty much told me to get my affairs in order, right there on the spot.”

The pathology results came in four days later. Penny learned that he had peritoneal mesothelioma — a rare cancer of the lining of the abdomen almost always tied to asbestos exposure. He concluded, after consulting with a lawyer, that he’d inhaled microscopic asbestos fibers about a decade earlier while installing fiber-optic cable underground. He sued telecommunications giant AT&T.

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Source: America’s ‘Third Wave’ Of Asbestos Disease Upends Lives

 


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