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The “Focus on Mesothelioma Conference”, a free educational conference for patients and their families, will be hosted by Penn Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Friday, Oct. 12 at the Hilton Hotel in Philadelphia. The event is open to the public. A $20 donation is requested.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Approximately 3,000 people in America are newly diagnosed with this aggressive cancer every year. The Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Program has a multidisciplinary team of specialists dedicated to treating patients with mesothelioma.
The event’s agenda begins at 7:30 a.m. with an “Ask the Expert” session during a continental breakfast. Patients and families will be able to meet one-on-one with their team about symptom management and integrative therapies during this session and throughout the day.
A general session will follow breakfast which will cover the basics about mesothelioma and introduce the different experts on Penn’s treatment team. Other sessions will look at the university’s latest clinical trials and research aimed at finding more effective ways to treat mesothelioma.To register or for more information, call 1-800-789-PENN or register online at oncolink.org/conference/mesothelioma. Comments (0)
I’m pleased to share that the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation recently announced funding for five mesothelioma research grants.
Having seen first-hand the deadly impact this disease can have on patients and their families, my colleagues and I understand the critical need for research dollars for mesothelioma. Thanks to the work of the Meso Foundation that need is being fulfilled, but not fast enough. Every year 3,000 new Americans are newly diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.
A cure can’t come quick enough.
The foundation awards funding based on a rigorous peer-reviewed process. This means that all projects are reviewed and ranked by the members of the organization’s Science Advisory Board. The five were selected from a pool of 42 applicants.
This year’s projects include:
- A study attempting to combine all genomic data of ten different pleural mesothelioma tumors and discover which genes are truly meaningful in disease treatment.
- A study investigating how important proteins in the immune system are involved in regulating the response of mesothelioma cells to chemotherapy.
- A study of WT1 peptide/MHS complexes and their use as a possible antigen that would help the immune system detect and kill mesothelioma cells.
- A review of three experiments of BAP1 to character how the loss of BAP1 may cause mesothelioma to become more vulnerable to targeted therapy approaches.
- A project to identify and validate miRNAs as novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets diffuse in malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.
The five new grants bring the total number of grants funded by the Meso Foundation to 76 for a cumulative total of $7.6 million in funding. As the Meso Foundations highest cumulative donor, the Simmons Firm has been a proud supporter of the foundation since it started more than ten years ago. However, until a meso cure is found, more support is needed. No one deserves to suffer through a mesothelioma diagnosis.
For more information on these grants and more visit the Foundation’s website.Comments (0)
We’re having a busy week here at the firm getting ready for our annual Miles for Meso 5K race, which is happening this Saturday.
This year we’ve increased the prize money for the race to more than $6,000. That’s the largest 5K race purse in the Midwest. And it’s gotten a lot of attention. As of yesterday we have over 500 people registered to attend, including about 30 elite runners.
If you’re not planning on attending, but live in the Alton area, I would encourage you to come out and watch. The elite runners, who’ve come from all over the country and even Kenya, should make for an exciting event to watch. Here’s the Alton course map, if you’re interested.
The firm held the first Miles for Meso race in 2009 as a way to celebrate Mesothelioma Awareness Day and raise awareness about mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Cumulatively the Alton race has fundraised over $50,000 for mesothelioma research.
Huge thanks go to our Platinum sponsor STL Communications and our Gold Sponsors Clover Leaf Bank and Jenner & Block. (See the complete list over at the Miles for Meso sponsorship page.)
If you still haven’t signed up to attend, registration will be open 7:30-8:45 a.m. on Saturday before the race at our new building, One Court St., in Alton. To learn more, visit the Alton Race page on the Miles for Meso web site.Comments (0)
The amount of research dollars for orphan diseases like mesothelioma is scarce. This is why benefit races like Miles for Meso, Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation initiative, are so vital to the effort of finding a cure.
This Sunday, the Simmons Law Firm will sponsor the first Miles for Meso of 2011 in Boca Raton, Florida. It’s organized by meso survivor and advocate Larry Davis. Four years ago, Larry was told he had six months to live. Larry believes he’s winning his battle against mesothelioma because of his willingness to think outside the box when it came to his treatment options and his love of running.
Now, four years years later, Larry has run multiple marathons and hosted several events to promote mesothelioma awareness. For this year’s South Florida race, he’s recruited his physician, Dr. Richard Alexander, a mesothelioma clinical researcher from the University of Maryland Medical Center, to speak the night before the event about his research and the importance of fundraising events like Miles for Meso.
“This type of support is going to be increasingly important,” he told a reporter with the Sun Sentential. “The competition for research dollars is fierce these days.
According to the article, fewer than 10 percent of the research projects submitted to the National Institutes of Health receive federal funding. Less than one percent of the funded projects benefit mesothelioma or lung cancer projects.
Thanks to efforts by nonprofits like the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation, alternative funding is available for medical experts who are working toward finding a cure.
For me, December and the holiday season has always been a time to reflect on the past year. A time to remember the challenges we’ve overcome; the projects we’ve spearheaded; and the goals we’ve achieved. Below I’ve compiled highlights from 2010.
Throughout the year, our attorneys continued to fight on behalf of victims of mesothelioma and their families. This summer, we secured a favorable appeal in Simpkins v. CSX Transportation for all Illinois families impacted by a mesothelioma diagnosis. The Appellate Court of Illinois ruled that employers do have a duty to inform their employees’ family members about the dangers of take home asbestos exposure. The ruling established an important precedent for mesothelioma victims and their families.
The firm’s success did not stop with our mesothelioma practice. This spring the commercial litigation department secured a $32 million dollar settlement in an antitrust lawsuit. Then throughout the year, the intellectual property department secured two preliminary injunctions in separate cases, including one involving camouflage sports apparel and vampire welding helmets. This year once again proved that partnering with clients, instead of billing exorbitant hourly rates, gets better results, faster.
Our pharmaceutical litigation department gained momentum early on in 2010 by attaining leadership roles in the Yaz and Chantix cases, both examples of high-visibility litigation the firm has handled over the years. I expect momentum to only increase as our phrama team continues to advocate for consumer rights and investigate drugs pulled from the market by the Food & Drug Administration through 2011.
The mesothelioma community made great strides in 2010 by ramping up efforts to improve awareness of mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos. We were pleased to celebrate several victories with our friends at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. In April, the U.S. senate passed a resolution declaring the first week of April as National Asbestos Awareness Week. Then, in November, after many months of hard work educating congressional leaders about the need for more awareness about mesothelioma, the U.S. House passed a resolution making Sept. 26, National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. The mesothelioma community has also moved into the social media world. You can now fan the Simmons firm, Miles for Meso, Ban Asbestos Now! and ADAO & MARF on Facebook.
In 2010, the firm tripled our own ongoing efforts to promote awareness of mesothelioma by becoming the national sponsor of Miles for Meso, starting the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation, and celebrating the opening of the Simmons Cancer Institute.
The firm’s non-profit endeavors did much during 2010 to help our community and cancer patients across the county. The Foundation formed critical partnerships with leading medical mesothelioma experts throughout the country, which provides mesothelioma patients with cutting-edge treatment options regardless of where they’re located in the United States. In addition, the firm hosted the Second Annual Alton 5K Miles for Meso Run & Walk, and sponsored additional Miles for Meso races in Florida, Indiana and Virginia. The three races combined raised approximately $40,000 for mesothelioma research and drew just under 1,000 participants.
I’m also proud of the work our employees, through the Simmons Employee Foundation, have done this year to improve life in our local community. This spring, they hosted their 4th Annual Dinner Auction, which raised more than $200,000 for two area charities. Then this fall, the employee’s annual golf tournament raised just over $15,000 for two other local charities. These two events, while the most visible, represent only a portion of the work and donations the firm’s employees contributed to their communities throughout this economically difficult year.
Looking back, the firm has had a very busy 2010. Yet, looking forward, life at the firm is going to get even busier. If you haven’t heard, the firm is relocating its headquarters to Alton, Illinois. Since the summer we’ve been renovating the old Jefferson Smurfit building in downtown Alton. It’s a beautiful location surrounded by historic brick streets and stunning views of the Clark Bridge and Mississippi River.
As we literally move into 2011 and into our new building, we’ll continue to fight for the rights of patients and their families. We’ll work to raise awareness about mesothelioma, generate funds for mesothelioma research, and call for legislation banning the use of asbestos. We are grateful for 2010 and look forward to the challenges of the coming year.Have a safe and happy holiday, and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year! Comments (0)
Simmons Law Firm advocates for veterans who died from asbestos related diseases
On this Veterans Day, please remember to light a candle in memory of those who gave their lives to protect ours; to say a prayer for those who are still overseas protecting us; and to thank those who served and came home to a nation they made great.
As a firm that specializes in asbestos-related diseases, many of our clients are veterans. Today, we’d like to advocate on behalf of those who passed away from lung cancer and mesothelioma due to their asbestos exposure during their time of service.
Throughout the twentieth century, the US military made widespread use of asbestos, a dangerous mineral linked to a number of diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Asbestos was popular because of its heat-resistant properties, making it especially useful for fireproofing living quarters and seagoing vessels.
According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, there are approximately 23 million veterans living in the country today. Thanks to the military’s decades of uncontrolled asbestos use, many of these veterans were unknowingly exposed to asbestos throughout their years of service. Navy veterans who worked on and around ships built before the mid 1970s are especially at risk, since they may have been exposed to concentrated doses of asbestos below deck. Since the firstsymptoms of mesothelioma normally do not appear until decades after exposure, many of these veterans have only recently been diagnosed with this fatal disease.
Despite this, close to 1,700 metric tons of asbestos was imported to the United States in 2008. It’s not banned, and – although it’s highly regulated – asbestos is still found in household products like insulation, shingles and siding.
America’s veterans who have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease don’t back down from a fight. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves or being resentful about something they know they can’t change. They remain proud of their service to their country and the time they spent in the Navy, Army, Air Force, or Marines. Like any hardworking American, though, they deserve a chance to be heard.
The same goes for any veteran who has fallen upon hard times. One of our attorneys, Mike Stewart, a veteran himself, volunteers with Madison County’s veteran court. It’s a court program run by veterans for veterans. The special court helps honorably discharged veterans who are struggling with legal problems resulting from drug, alcohol or mental health problems.
Here’s a great article about Madison County’s veterans court program that ran in yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
On behalf of the Simmons law firm, I would like to thank past, present and future U.S. veterans around the world for the sacrifices they made on behalf of our country. We are forever proud of the men and women who continually risked their lives to protect ours. We hope through their example we will be inspired to become better people and a better nation.Comments (0)
Running is hard. Living with cancer is harder, especially when that cancer ismesothelioma.
Saturday, I ran in the second Alton Miles for Meso 5K race, sponsored by the firm. I was privileged to run it alongside our client Julie Gundlach who is a mesothelioma survivor. This year we both decided to challenge ourselves and run the course instead of cheering from the sidelines like last year.
Alton, while historically beautiful, is basically one big hill with the Mississippi River at the bottom. It is a tough course. Some of the corporate runners who came from Kansas City told our race director that even they were impressed with its degree of difficulty.
Before the race started, Julie gave a short speech about living with a mesothelioma diagnosis and thanked everyone for coming. As she finished, she joked about being a slow runner. She got a laugh before saying, “I hate running, but I look at it as, ‘I get to do this.’ My husband and daughter were running and they’re faster than me. But to have them run with me is awesome.”
One of our local newspapers, The Alton Telegraph, ran a story about the race featuring Julie later that afternoon. Reading it you learn she’s a 49-month survivor and that she has mesothelioma in her abdomen, as opposed to the lungs. She has undergone numerous surgeries and extensive chemotherapy.
As Julie crossed the finish line, about 40 minutes after we started, people cheered.
Working with people and families impacted by this terminal cancer every day, I want to also remember those who couldn’t be there. Looking out over the crowd Saturday, I saw too many familiar faces belonging to family members who lost their loved ones to this terrible disease. Those are the people who inspire me.
Running is hard, but it’s worth it because we’re running toward a cure.Comments (0)
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