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Mesothelioma Treatment | Medical Oncologist Perspective | Mesothelioma

A.) Effective Advocacy and the Case for Federal Meso Research Funding
Kathleen Wiedemer, Interim Executive Director, Meso Foundation

Kathy Wiedemer comes to the Meso Foundation with over twenty years of non-profit management experience.  It is important to her to work in an organization where she has a passion for the mission and so has concentrated her efforts in academic and healthcare institutions and also in an organization where she believes she can make an impact.  In addition to being president of the University Community Hospital Foundation in Tampa, Florida, she also headed the Bethesda Hospital Foundation in Boynton Beach, Florida.  She was Executive Director of Development for the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University and also headed the development operation at the ASCO Cancer Foundation.  Under her leadership, organizations have raised more than $75 million to advance their missions.  She has broad experience working with not-for-profit boards and in staff development. 

Kathy feels it is a privilege to be associated with the Meso Foundation, help the organization relocate, become established and thrive in our nation’s capital.

Kathy holds a Masters in Education from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.  She has also earned the designation of Certified Fund Raising Executive.

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B.) State Assistance on Insurance Appeals

Joy Y. Hatchette, JD
Maryland Insurance Administration

Joy Y. Hatchette was named the Associate Commissioner for Consumer Education and Advocacy in July of 2004. This unit is responsible for providing consumers with information so that they are better able to understand their rights and obligations under their insurance policies. The Unit also attempts to facilitate the prompt resolution of automobile and homeowners claims through a pilot program. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and received a J.D. degree from the University of Virginia Law School. She is a member of the Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia Bars.

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C.) Cancer Genetics in the Mesothelioma Family

Jill Ohar, MD, FCCP
Wake Forest University

Dr. Jill Ohar graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1973 and the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1977. She completed an internship at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in critical care and pulmonary diseases at the Medical College of Virginia. She was on faculty at Saint Louis University for 17 years. Dr. Ohar now serves as the chief of clinical operations and precepts the fellow clinics at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Dr. Ohar also spends 1/3 of the year caring for patients in the intensive care unit. Her clinical research interests focus on inhalational diseases such as COPD (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) and asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Her current focus is based on years of research, which have determined that there is a strong tendency for mesothelioma to run in families and tends to be associated with a family history of cancer, which suggests genetic susceptibility.

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D.) Fundraising

Ann Abbe, Member
Board of Directors
Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

Ann Abbe has been a nonprofit professional for 30 years, and is the Vice President for Development at the University of North Texas. She is an expert in fundraising and helping nonprofits reach their highest potential through strategic planning and effective organization. She brings to us all of this professional expertise, and also a personal passion for the Foundation and our mission. Ann knows first-hand the urgency of the need to eradicate mesothelioma, several years ago she lost her brother, Mike Melton, to the disease.

University of North Texas
Denton, Texas

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E.) Navigating Mesothelioma Clinical Trials with GPS (Getting Personalized Service)

Robert N. Taub, MD, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Robert Taub is Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons; Director, Columbia University Mesothelioma Center; and Attending Oncologist, Columbia University Medical Center. He is a medical oncologist and hematologist with a special interest in the diagnosis, clinical care, and investigation of patients with malignant mesothelioma and soft tissue sarcoma. The Columbia Mesothelioma Center under Dr. Taub’s direction is developing unique new treatment algorithms utilizing intracavitary chemotherapy for multimodal treatment of abdominal mesothelioma and for lung-sparing treatment of pleural mesothelioma. Dr Taub’s interests are in investigator-initiated cell-biology based laboratory and translational studies in mesothelioma and soft tissue sarcoma, in collaboration with the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Departments of Surgery and Pathology, as a means of optimizing the clinical care that he and his colleagues directly provide to these patients.
 

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F.) Update from Across the Pond

Liz Darlison, Nurse Consultant
Mesothelioma UK

Liz Darlison trained at Charles Frears School of Nursing in Leicester qualifying in 1986. Since 1992 she has been based within the cardio-respiratory directorate of the University Hospitals of Leicester at the Glenfield Hospital site. Liz was a ward sister/manager in respiratory for several years and in June 2000 she took up the post of Respiratory Nurse Specialist (Lung Cancer). Liz’s interests within lung cancer have always focused on developing the nursing contribution, within the multidisciplinary team, to improve patient and carer experience across the whole cancer pathway. To meet demand locally and nationally Liz developed an interest in Mesothelioma which resulted in the establishment of Mesothelioma UK, the National Macmillan Mesothelioma Resource Centre. Liz is currently a Consultant Nurse leading the development of Mesothelioma UK.

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G.) The Mesothelioma Experience: Patient and Provider Perspectives Panel

David S. Ettinger, MD
Johns Hopkins University

David S. Ettinger, MD, is the Alex Grass Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.  He also holds four additional professorships – professor of medicine, professor of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery, professor of gynecology and obstetrics, and professor of radiation oncology and molecular radiation sciences. Dr. Ettinger received his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine.  He completed his training in medical oncology at Johns Hopkins in 1975, and since then has been on the faculty of the School of Medicine.  Dr. Ettinger’s research interests are in new drug development and innovative multidisciplinary cancer treatment strategies.  He is also interested in improving supportive care measures associated with cancer and its treatment.  Dr. Ettinger has authored or co-authored over 190 articles and serves as an editor for Current Treatment Options in Oncology.

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H.) Work of the Science Advisory Board

Raffit Hassan, MD
Chairman, Science Advisory Board
Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

Dr. Hassan, is an Investigator and Chief of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Section in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Hassan is a medical oncologist whose laboratory and clinical research is focused on developing novel therapies for the treatment of mesothelioma. Work done by him and his collaborators has shown that mesothelin, a tumor antigen which was discovered at the NCI, is a useful target for tumor-specific therapy of malignant mesothelioma. His group is presently conducting clinical trials of three different agents targeting mesothelin namely, SS1P an anti-mesothelin immunotoxin, MORAb-009 a chimeric anti-mesothelin monoclonal antibody and CRS-207 a mesothelin tumor vaccine.

National Cancer Institute
Building 37, Room 5116
Bethesda, MD 20892

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J.) Present and Future of Mesothelioma Treatment: Medical Oncologist and Researcher Perspective

Hedy Lee Kindler, MD
University of Chicago Medical Center

Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler is an internationally recognized authority on the treatment of malignant mesothelioma. Dr. Kindler is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, where she is the Director of the Mesothelioma and Gastrointestinal Oncology Programs. She is the President of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, the leading international scientific research organization dedicated to this disease. She is also a member of the Science Advisory Board of the Mesothelioma Foundation. Dr. Kindler chairs the Mesothelioma sub-committee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, a national cancer clinical trials group. Dr. Kindler’s research focuses on the investigation of novel agents for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma. She has published numerous journal articles, review articles, book chapters, and abstracts, and she lectures around the world on mesothelioma. Patients throughout the United States come to Dr. Kindler’s Mesothelioma Clinic at the University of Chicago for her expert care and to participate in her clinical trials. Dr. Kindler has been listed repeatedly in Best Doctors in America, America’s Top Doctors for Cancer, and Top Doctors in Chicago. 

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K.) New Developments in Radiation Oncology: A Global Perspective

Malcolm Feigen, MD
Heidelberg Reparation Hospital, Australia

Dr. Malcolm Feigen radiation oncologist working in Melbourne, Australia who began using high dose radiotherapy to palliate mesothelioma patients in 2003 after meeting Dr Craig Stevens from MD Anderson Cancer Center. As the thoracic surgeons at his institution were reluctant to perform pneumonectomies, he began using radiotherapy to delay recurrences after pleurectomy/decortications with photodynamic therapy in patients who were not given chemotherapy, and performed PET/CT scans to define the active disease regions before planning their radiotherapy. Many patients returned for follow up PET scans and, as few experienced radiotherapy complications, he gradually expanded the treatment field using more advanced radiotherapy technologies, and is currently offering intensity-modulated radiotherapy to the whole hemithorax in selected patients with advanced mesotheliomas who have not had the involved lung removed. There have been no significant toxicities with doses up to 60 Gy in six weeks, and PET scans performed up to five years after radiotherapy have shown long term local control.

Kenneth Rosenzweig, MD
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Kenneth Rosenzweig is a radiation oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with clinical expertise in treating cancers of the chest: non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, mesothelioma, and thymoma. His research involves adapting the latest technology to allow for safer, more aggressive radiation therapy for lung cancer.

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M.) Pain Management

Julie R. Brahmer, MD
Johns Hopkins Medical Institution

Dr. Julie Brahmer is an Assistant Professor of Oncology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Brahmer is an active clinical leader in the treatment of lung cancer and mesothelioma at SKCCC.  She is in charge of organizing the multidisciplinary thoracic malignancy conference whose members meet weekly to discuss thoracic malignancy cases that need a multidisciplinary review/approach.  She is also a part of the oncology pain team headed by Dr. Stuart Grossman.

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Mesothelioma Treatment: Present & Future from a Surgeon & Research Perspective | Dr. Harvey Pass

Harvey Pass, MD
New York University Medical Center

Dr. Harvey Pass is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and Duke Medical School. After completing his cardiothoracic training at the Medical University of South Carolina and a year as a cardiac surgery attending physician, he devoted his career to treating thoracic malignancies including lung cancer, pulmonary metastases, esophageal cancer, and mesothelioma. In 2005, Dr. Pass was recruited to be the first Director of the NYU Division of Thoracic Surgery. His laboratory at Bellevue Hospital is the home of the NCI-funded Early Detection Research Network Biomarker Discovery Laboratory for Mesothelioma, and the Clinical CORE for the NCI’s recently funded Mesothelioma Pathogenesis Program Project. He is a vigorous advocate for patients with lung cancer and mesothelioma, serving as a Lung Cancer Alliance Board member, and former Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. He has been awarded Castle Connolly’s America’s Top Doctors award for the last five years.

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N.) Traditional Healing with Modern Science

Linda Lee, MD
Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine & Digestive Center

Dr. Linda Lee is Board-Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.  She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Chicago, graduating with honors.   Dr. Lee attended the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.  In 1994, she joined the Hopkins faculty as Assistant Professor.  Dr. Lee is involved in gastrointestinal and cancer research, teaching, and clinical care. Dr. Lee recently opened the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine & Digestive Center, located at Green Spring Station. The Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine & Digestive Center provides a broad spectrum of services to enhance conventional care, including acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition consultation, and integrative psychotherapy.  Specific programs have been developed targeting cancer patients and survivors, as well as women with digestive health issues.

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O.) Update on Clinical Trials and Mesothelioma Research

Mary Hesdorffer, MS, APRN-BC
Nurse Practitioner/Medical Liaison, Meso Foundation

Mary Hesdorffer received her undergraduate degree at the College of New Rochelle in NY and went on to receive her Masters of Science at the same institution. She is fully credentialed as a Nurse Practitioner and has spent the past 13 years actively treating patients with mesothelioma. Mary has an expertise in the development and implementation of clinical trials. She has published in peer reviewed journals and has lectured nationally on the topics pertaining to mesothelioma with particular emphasis on clinical trials as well as symptom and disease management, she is well known to the Foundation's community having attended and spoken at many of our symposiums. Mary is passionate in her commitment to the treatment and management of this disease and hopes to increase awareness of the need to advance the science that will lead to a cure. She is available via phone or email to assist patients and caregivers as they move from chaos to control of this new situation they find themselves thrust into.

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P.) Mesothelioma Tissue Bank

Michael Becich, MD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Dr. Michael Becich is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is jointly appointed in Pathology, Information Sciences/Telecommunications and Clinical/Translational Research. He is Associate Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Co-Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Becich's research interests are focused on the interface between clinical informatics and bioinformatics. His research is funded by the NCI, NCRR, NLM, NIDCR, CDC, TATRC and the DOD and includes clinical phenotyping of patients for genome wide association studies, tissue banking informatics and bioinformatics with a special emphasis on data sharing.

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Photodynamic Therapy for Mesothelioma Treatment | Dr. Joseph Friedberg

Joseph Friedberg, MD
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Joseph Friedberg is Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Health System-Presbyterian. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Medical School. He was trained in general surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and is board certified in general surgery. He specialized in thoracic surgery at Brigham and Womens Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and is also board certified in Thoracic Surgery. He is a member of numerous national surgical organizations, and heads the PMC Thoracic Research Laboratory. He has a particular interest in diseases of the pleura, and has extensive experience with laser treatments and photodynamic therapy. He heads several investigational trials unique in the world to develop treatments for advanced cancers and malignant mesothelioma, including the development of a lung cancer vaccine.

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Q.) EGFR Inhibitors for Patients with Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Jason M. Foster, MD
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Jason M. Foster, M.D. received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and completed his general surgery residency at the University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Foster is a SSO trained surgical oncologist who treats a broad range of malignant diseases including cancer of the gastrointestinal tract; endocrine organs (pancreas, adrenal, thyroid, parathyroid), soft tissue sarcomas (extremities, retroperitoneum and abdomen), skin tumors (melanoma, merkel cell, squamous cell, etc.) and peritoneal based malignancies.  Dr. Foster’s additional interests include the use of minimally invasive surgery in oncology and the use of hyperthermic therapies including radiofrequency ablation of tumors, isolated limb perfusions/infusions (ILP/ILI) and intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy (IPHC).
He is also engaged in basic science/translational oncology research primarily focused on identification of the molecular pathways involved in tumors that present with peritoneal carcinomatosis and the development of novel therapeutics for these tumors.

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R.) The Use of Cytokine Inhibitors: Translational Lab Results

Sheelu Varghese, PhD
University of Maryland

Dr. Sheelu Varghese obtained a Ph.D in Molecular Endocrinology and Biochemistry from the Department of Zoology, University of Kerala, India. He attained a strong interest in cancer research early in his 5 years postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USA where he joined the laboratory of H. Richard Alexander, M.D., in the Surgery Branch. Since then he has focused his research on tumor biology and metastatic tumor growth. Dr. Varghese led the laboratory research efforts in the genetic and proteomic analyses of fresh patient tumors to identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention. His research was focused on malignant peritoneal mesothelioma and on the metastatic spread of colorectal cancer and ocular melanoma. In an attempt to generate model systems for peritoneal mesothelioma research, he has generated several peritoneal mesothelioma cell lines and tumor models. In 2006 Dr. Varghese joined in the Department of Surgery University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) as a junior faculty research scientist.  He has a strong interest in basic tumor biology to understand the mechanisms of tumor progression to develop new translational approaches for the treatment of various cancers.

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S.) Identifying and Targeting Aggressive Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Morphologic and Molecular Studies

Alain Borczuk, MD, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Alain Borczuk is a Professor of Clinical Pathology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.  A graduate of Princeton University and Cornell University Medical School, he is currently a surgical pathologist specializing in lung pathology and collaborates extensively with the team of physicians in the Mesothelioma Center at Columbia, including Drs. Taub and Chabot.  As a result, he reviews the pathology on numerous peritoneal mesothelioma. His research interests include classification of lung cancer and mesothelioma using modern molecular techniques. In mesothelioma, his work has focused on pathways of aggressive tumor behavior in peritoneal malignant mesothelioma.

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T.) Treatment Options for Patients with Recurrent Disease after HIPEC, HRA - Panel Discussion

H. Richard Alexander, MD
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Dr. Richard Alexander is an internationally recognized surgical oncologist and cancer researcher. He treats patients at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and is associate chairman for clinical research in the Department of Surgery of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Dr. Alexander is recognized for developing innovative techniques to treat patients with regionally advanced cancers of the extremity, peritoneum, or liver.  His laboratory is focused on identifying new therapeutic interventions based on elucidating the molecular profiles and cellular pathways that are activated in peritoneal mesothelioma.

Dr. Alexander received his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in general surgery at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and did a fellowship in surgical oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Alexander has written more than 220 journal articles and has lectured throughout the United States and the world.

Claire F. Verschraegen, MD
University of New Mexico

Dr. Claire Verschraegen is currently the Director of Translational Therapeutics at the Cancer Research and Treatment Center of the University of New Mexico. Dr. Verschraegen was on the faculty at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center for seven years before moving to New Mexico. At M. D. Anderson, she became known has a specialist for gynecological cancers, appendiceal cancers, and mesothelioma, studying new anticancer drugs for these diseases. At the University of New Mexico Cancer Research and Treatment Center, she built the Clinical Trial Office and served as the medical director of the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance, which promotes clinical trials in the community. She is now the Director of the Translational Therapeutics program and continues her clinical research activities in drug development for gynecological cancers and rare malignancies.

John Chabot, MD
Columbia University Medical Center

Dr John Chabot is the Vice Chair for General Surgery and Division Chief, GI/Endocrine Surgery at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Dr. Chabot is responsible for the surgical management of patients with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.  His current research involves the use of surgery, intraperitoneal chemotherapy and immunotherapy in treating peritoneal mesothelioma.   

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A.) Effective Advocacy and the Case for Federal Meso Research Funding

B.) State Assistance on Insurance Appeals

C.) Cancer Genetics in the Mesothelioma Family

D.) Fundraising

E.) Navigating Mesothelioma Clinical Trials with GPS (Getting Personalized Service)

F.) Update from Across the Pond

G.) The Mesothelioma Experience: Patient and Provider Perspectives Panel

H.) Work of the Science Advisory Board

J.) Present and Future of Mesothelioma Treatment: Medical Oncologist and Researcher Perspective

K.) New Developments in Radiation Oncology: A Global Perspective

M.) Pain Management

Mesothelioma Treatment: Present & Future from a Surgeon & Research Perspective | Dr. Harvey Pass

N.) Traditional Healing with Modern Science

O.) Update on Clinical Trials and Mesothelioma Research

P.) Mesothelioma Tissue Bank

Photodynamic Therapy for Mesothelioma Treatment | Dr. Joseph Friedberg

Q.) EGFR Inhibitors for Patients with Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma

R.) The Use of Cytokine Inhibitors: Translational Lab Results

S.) Identifying and Targeting Aggressive Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Morphologic and Molecular Studies

T.) Treatment Options for Patients with Recurrent Disease after HIPEC, HRA - Panel Discussion