Asbestos expert warns ageing population will drive surge in mesothelioma deaths

AN ASBESTOS expert has warned that the number of men dying from a lethal lung disease caused by exposure to the mineral is likely to triple over the next 30 years.

Robin Howie said official predictions had “vastly underestimated” the death toll from mesothelioma, an incurable cancer, because they fail to take account of future improvements in life expectancy.

Mr Howie, an Edinburgh-based occupational hygienist who advises on health and safety, said that the expected surge in people living into the 80s and older meant that increasing numbers of men would survive long enough to develop mesothelioma, whereas past generations tended to die earlier from other illnesses. The condition takes 42 years on average to develop after initial exposure.

Source: Asbestos expert warns ageing population will drive surge in mesothelioma deaths


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Asbestos Deaths Remain A Public Health Problem

People are still dying of cancer linked to asbestos, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says, despite decades of regulations meant to limit dangerous exposure.

Starting in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has regulated how much asbestos workers can be exposed to, because it contains tiny fibers that can cause lung disease or cancer if they are swallowed or inhaled.

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates asbestos too, setting requirements for inspecting, demolishing and renovating buildings that contain materials made with asbestos, like insulation, vinyl tiles, roofing, shingles and paint.

But, a recent CDC analysis found that thousands of people are still dying each year from a type of cancer called malignant mesothelioma that is associated with inhaling asbestos fibers, even briefly or in small amounts. Even after decades of regulation, between 1999 and 2015 there were 45,221 mesothelioma deaths in the U.S. The majority of those who died were men.

The greatest increase is among people over 85 years old, who were likely exposed to asbestos many years ago. It can take anywhere from two to seven decades for mesothelioma to develop after a person inhales asbestos fibers. And early deaths among people 35 to 65 are down overall.

[Read article in full at original source]

Source: Asbestos Deaths Remain A Public Health Problem


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Asbestos-related cancer costs Canadians billions

A first-ever estimate of the toll of asbestos-related cancers on society pegs the cost of new cases at $1.7-billion per year in Canada, and notes that is likely an under-estimate.

The economic burden of lung cancer and mesothelioma from work-related asbestos exposure in Canada amounts to an average of $818,000 per case, according to a team led by health economist and senior scientist Dr. Emile Tompa at the Institute for Work & Health, a research organization, whose calculation includes costs related to health care and lost productivity and quality of life.

This is the first time a tally of these costs has been made public. Asbestos remains the top cause of occupational deaths in Canada: Workers’ compensation boards have accepted more than 5,700 claims since 1996. About 150,000 Canadian workers are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces, the research project Carex Canada estimates, among them construction workers and contractors, mechanics, shipbuilders and engineers. This country continues to allow exports and imports of asbestos, which rose to a six-year high last year. Dozens of other countries, including Australia and Britain, have banned it.

[Article continues at original source]

Source: Asbestos-related cancer costs Canadians billions


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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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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.”

[Article continues at original source]

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


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Rep. Farenthold: Pillar of privacy protection, but not for asbestos victims

“In America, we have a right to privacy and that right should be upheld.”

We couldn’t agree more with that stirring affirmation from Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas). In May, he tweeted that comment to express his concern over a White House proposal to make it easier for federal law enforcement to gain access to data on computers and wireless devices….

But Farenthold’s unwavering support for individual privacy and his determination to keep cyber attacks and Internet thieves at bay doesn’t extend to victims of asbestos exposure.

Farenthold is the author of the so-called FACT Act, or H.R. 526, that would force people suffering from asbestos-related diseases to disclose sensitive personal information online….

The FACT Act wasn’t Farenthold’s idea alone. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, conceived of the bill. The bill is beloved and backed by major corporations with asbestos liabilities and big insurance companies like Koch Industries, Honeywell, 3M, Allstate and Nationwide….

[Article continues at original source]

Source: Rep. Farenthold: Pillar of privacy protection, but not for asbestos victims


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For BASF, huge potential liability emerges years after deal

When BASF acquired Engelhard Corp. nine years ago for $5 billion, executives unknowingly inherited a ticking legal time bomb.

It all began decades ago over the seemingly mundane industrial product talc, used in everything from wallboards to handling auto tires on the factory line.

In 1983, Engelhard quietly settled a lawsuit after its officials testified in depositions that talc produced by a company mine contained cancer-causing asbestos. All evidence was sealed and Engelhard and its law firm repeatedly said in subsequent lawsuits spanning more than two decades that the company’s talc was asbestos-free.

It wasn’t until 2009, after BASF assumed Engelhard’s liabilities, that another picture began to emerge. A former Engelhard scientist testifying in a lawsuit filed by his own daughter said he was told that “asbestos in trace amounts was found in talc,” and the company’s legal department “told us to purge our records” relating to the mine. A co-worker testified about test results in the 1970s showing the presence of asbestos in the talc.

[Article continues at original source]

Source: For BASF, huge potential liability emerges years after deal – Chicago Tribune


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Asbestos-related cancer treatment breakthrough leaves Australian researchers optimistic

Australian researchers are cautiously optimistic after using nanocells to achieve what could be one of the most significant breakthroughs in asbestos-related cancer treatment in a decade.

Scientists from the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Centre have published a case report of a patient whose mesothelioma has almost entirely disappeared.

Bradley Selmon was one of ten patients in a phase-one clinical trial of a new treatment that used very small genes known as microRNA to inhibit tumour growth.

The genes were transported to the mesothelioma in his right lung using Australian-designed nanocells.

Associate Professor Glen Reid from the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) put the microRNA inside nanocells and said it was like using a Trojan horse.

[Article continues at original source]

Source: Asbestos-related cancer treatment breakthrough leaves Australian researchers optimistic – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


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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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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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