International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma 2008
Targeting a Cure
Leading international experts on the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, will join meso patients, caregivers, loved ones and advocates to share the latest in treatment, research and clinical trials at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, 2008, to be held Thursday, June 26th through Saturday, June 28th at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C.
The Symposium, organized annually by the Meso Foundation, will highlight the latest advances in research and treatment for patients and caregivers, offer psychosocial support to them as well as those who have lost someone to the disease, and provide significant advocacy and volunteer opportunities for all who are intent on eradicating the vicious and terminal effects of this tragic cancer. The three-day conference, supported by the generosity of sponsors SimmonsCooper, LLC; Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC; Caroselli, Beachler, McTiernan & Conboy, LLC; Merck & Co., Inc.; and Fujirebio Diagnostics, Inc., is dedicated to the issues of advocacy, science and community, as they relate to mesothelioma.
Day 1: Advocacy, Thursday, June 26th has two focal points. The first is a rallying cry to the U.S. House of Representatives to move quickly on legislation banning asbestos and providing research funding for meso and asbestos related diseases. This legislation must be conferenced with the companion bill in the U.S. Senate and signed into law by the President before year-end. The second advocacy objective is to request that the Senate’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee maintain, for a second year, mesothelioma’s eligibility to compete for medical research funding from the Department of Defense.
“We are again bringing our army of advocates – doctors, researchers and most importantly families directly impacted by this deadly cancer,” said Chris Hahn, Executive Director of the Meso Foundation. “We expect over 100 patients, family members, volunteers, advocates, scientists and clinicians to attend from all over the United States to tell their stories. And we are going to make sure the House of Representatives and the President complete the life-saving work started by Senator Murray to ban asbestos and fund meso research. We were there last year, and by the end of our Advocacy Day, the Senate passed unanimously its version of this legislation. This year, we need as many people as possible to have the same impact on the House.”
The Symposium’s Co-Chairs, Dr. Nicholas J. Vogelzang, Chairman of the Meso Foundation’s Board of Directors and the Director of Nevada Cancer Institute, and Dr. Raffit Hassan, Chairman of the Meso Foundation’s Science Advisory Board and an Investigator at the National Cancer Institute, have put together an impressive and prestigious group of panelists for Day 2: Science, Friday, June 27th.
The sessions will feature worldwide experts discussing the most recent advances in research and treatments, as well as the exciting developments on the horizon. Science Day also provides the lay participants with the opportunity to interact with specialists and experts in the field, to exchange information and concerns.
The panel of discussants and presenters reflect the scope of experts leading the fight against mesothelioma. They include: Robert N. Taub, M.D., PhD., Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University; H. Richard Alexander, Jr., M.D., Associate Chairman for Clinical Research, Surgery, University of Maryland; Raja Flores, M.D., Thoracic Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Robert Kratzke, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota; David Rice, M.D., Associate Professor, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Director of Mesothelioma Program, MD Anderson Cancer Center; Steven M. Albelda, M.D., Vice Chief, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division, Director of Lung Research, Co-Director, Thoracic Oncology Laboratories, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center; Anne Tsao, M.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center; Luciano Mutti, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Medicine, Vercelli General Hospital – Italy; and Mary Hesdorffer, MS, APRN, the Meso Foundation.
A Gala Dinner will be held Friday evening, June 27th, with three awards presented to individuals in recognition of their special contributions to the cause: The Bruce Vento Hope Builder Award, named for the late Minnesota Congressman who died from meso in 2000, will acknowledge the support and initiatives of a political leader; the Pioneer Award will highlight the contribution made by a researcher or company involved in blazing the trail toward new treatment options; and the Volunteer of the Year Award will go to an individual selected for devoting much heart and energy in the fight to treat and cure mesothelioma.
Seventh grader Lexi Miletto, the granddaughter of Joseph Miletto who died in 2005 of peritoneal mesothelioma, will provide a personal perspective as a featured speaker at the gala event.
Day 3: Community, Saturday, June 28th will be devoted to the community of meso patients, families and caregivers. Support sessions, facilitated by professionals selected by the Meso Foundation, will be available for patients, for caregivers, and for those coping with the loss of a loved one. Participants will find a warm and nurturing environment as they address and share the painful and complicated issues of mesothelioma, giving them a sense of support and compassion as they are surrounded by others with similar experiences.
A tribute ceremony will be held during the day memorializing those who passed away with the unveiling of a tribute wall listing their names. The Meso Foundation will use this time to remember and acknowledge those who have been lost to mesothelioma. The closing sessions will emphasize the benefits and strengths of working together as a community of meso advocates and supporters.
To register for the Symposium, go to www.curemeso.org. There is a nominal registration fee. Generous financial support is available to defray travel, hotel and registration costs. No patient or family member need miss this invaluable opportunity because of lack of finances. (For the Symposium program, go to: http://www.curemeso.org/site/c.kkLUJ7MPKtH/b.3117569/)
The Meso Foundation is the nonprofit collaboration of patients and families, physicians, advocates and researchers dedicated to eradicating the life-ending and vicious effects of mesothelioma. The Foundation spurs meso research and seed money grant funding, with over
$5 million awarded to date. The Foundation also provides patients and families with information on mesothelioma treatments, clinical trials and medical referrals through its full-time mesothelioma nurse practitioner and its website, www.curemeso.org. The Meso Foundation also hosts the annual Symposium to educate patients and families on the latest advances in meso research and treatment, and advocates for a federal commitment to cure the disease.
For more information, please contact Chris Hahn at (805) 563-8400 or Joel Schnur at (212) 489-0600 x204.
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