First Ever Laboratory Dedicated to Mesothelioma Research Opens

Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are happy to report that the Pacific Meso Center (PMC) Research Laboratory celebrated its grand opening on February 13, 2013. The first of its kind, PMC is dedicated exclusively to the treatment, prevention, and overall research of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Located in Los Angeles, California, PMC is a faction of the Pacific Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a non-profit medical research institute founded in 2002. The new state-of-the-art laboratory is headed by distinguished scientists and physicians, and pioneered by Dr. Robert Cameron, who is an internationally-esteemed authority on mesothelioma. Dr. Cameron has dedicated his life to finding less invasive, lung-sparing treatments for malignant pleural mesothelioma. In fact, Dr. Cameron is the innovator of the Pleurectomy/Decortication procedure, which has saved hundreds of lives. PMC’s ultimate goal is to find a cure for the disease, which more than 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with each year.

Mesothelioma, like asbestosis, is exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. PMC is actively dedicated to informing the public of this fact, and seeks to educate on asbestos-related disease as much as possible. Asbestos is most present in industries such as construction, automotive, and shipbuilding, and contaminates nearly all insulation, piping, and friction products manufactured prior to 1979. The mineral is odorless, tasteless, and often difficult to detect, which is why asbestos-related diseases are so prevalent today, more than thirty years after it was banned by the federal government.

Every year, Dr. Cameron leads the Annual International Symposia on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. The Santa Monica symposium is attended by the world’s top experts, who aim to advance the treatment of mesothelioma.

Academic and private medical institutions, such as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, are often limited by investors or other interests groups. PMC is able to focus exclusively on mesothelioma research, free from any limitations or restrictions. The collaborative research teams at PMC focus on bringing the most promising new therapies directly from the lab to patients’ bedsides. The research is centered on two major goals – first, on biological or “targeted” therapy development, and second, on mesothelioma development prevention through chemical and/or biological agents.

Immunotherapy is a major part of this development, and PMC is actively researching interferon and immunotoxin therapies. In 2006, Dr. Cameron presented a study on patients undergoing interferon therapy. Those patients survived nearly three times longer than patients not receiving interferon alpha. PMC is currently in the midst of planning a larger clinical trial for this type of immune system treatment.

Doctors at PMC use cryotherapy in lieu of chemotherapy, which often has severe and devastating effects on the body. Cryotherapy is virtually problem-free in most patients, and involves placing a needle into residual tumors and freezing them. Freezing the tumors kill cancer cells quite effectively, and has dramatically improved quality of life for many mesothelioma patients. Dr. Cameron and his colleagues are currently writing a research paper on cryotherapy, to be released in the near future.

It is important to note that PMC also offers screening and early detection opportunities. The Center has an aggressive program for early detection of mesothelioma, which would enable affected patients to receive the best, most effective treatment options as soon as possible. Such screening projects include breath testing, proteonomics, and COX-2 inhibition.

Breath testing helps identify those most at risk for mesothelioma by screening for volatile hydrocarbons, which can indicate malignancies. Proteonomics is the study of protein profiles in normal and abnormal cells. Mesothelioma cells, like fingerprints, have distinctive profiles, and can be analyzed through blood and urine samples. COX-2 inhibitors, such as Celebrex, have been shown to prevent the development of mesothelioma in those with known asbestos exposure. All three of these screening projects are being conducted at UCLA and other mesothelioma centers throughout the country.

Mesothelioma attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are hopeful that the opening of the PMC Research Laboratory will lead to breakthrough and landmark developments in mesothelioma treatment and prevention techniques. If you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos and developed a related illness, you have important legal rights, and should contact an asbestos exposure attorney immediately for a free consultation.

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