Pacific Meso Center (PMC) at the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (PHLBI) announces a generous donation of $100,000 from Roger and Ann Worthington. Mr. Worthington is the founding partner of The Law Office of Roger G. Worthington, PC, an asbestos law firm in San Pedro. The $100,000 will go towards PMC's new laboratory in Santa Monica, California. The new state-of-the-art mesothelioma research laboratory is dedicated solely to the discovery of new treatments for malignant pleural mesothelioma, and will focus not only on the development of novel treatments for mesothelioma but also on its prevention.
"Our pledge of support for this laboratory has come as a result of the end of the conflict in Iraq and to honor our country's surviving veterans, whether from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or more recent conflicts, who were exposed to deadly asbestos fibers," said Roger Worthington. "Many of those veterans have gone on to be diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer of the chest lining and for which there are few treatment options," he added.
A team of physicians and scientists are launching research at the lab including one of the foremost experts in the field of mesothelioma research and treatment, Robert B. Cameron, M.D. Dr. Cameron is a cardiothoracic surgeon and surgical oncologist, the director of the UCLA Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the West Los Angeles Veterans' Administration Medical Center, and a long-time proponent of lung-sparing surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
"Unfortunately, within the colossal VA system, treating mesothelioma patients is not a priority. Despite an annual budget of over $132 billion (2012), the VA has neither a research nor a treatment program for vets stricken with war-related mesothelioma," said Roger Worthington. Dr. Robert Cameron adds: "We are preparing to ask the VA to live up to its obligations to provide the best medical care for these veterans suffering from mesothelioma by creating a national center of excellence for both research and treatment at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center where any veteran from across the country can come and be treated with the most advanced medical treatment available worldwide. We not only can, but we must, finally do this for our veterans."
As the first of its kind in the world, the research lab was established to lead a focused and collaborative mesothelioma research effort that is independent of the limitations often imposed by academic as well as private medical institutions. Other important initial projects for PMC will include the establishment of an international tissue bank, the development of intraoperative cryotherapy (freezing), initiation of a stromal cell modification project (stromal cells are the connective tissue cells of any organ) and the identification of a predictive model for drug prevention of malignant pleural mesothelioma.