The 2015 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma begins Monday, March 2nd in Bethesda, MD. The three-day, annual conference is an event for medical professionals, advocates and patients alike. It will be hosted by the Meso Foundation and the National Cancer Institute.
Topics for discussion at the conference will cover nearly every conceivable aspect of both peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma, including clinical trials, support groups, healthy living and surgical advances.
— Meso Foundation (@curemeso) January 13, 2015
This is also an opportunity for doctors to share their research and have meaningful debates about furthering the treatment of mesothelioma. The brigade of mesothelioma specialists who will be in attendance will also be available to mingle with patients during lunches and community sessions.
There is still time to register for those who wish to attend the event in person. Patients and family members unable to attend can watch discussions March 3rd via free live streaming on the Meso Foundation’s website.
Living with Mesothelioma, Day 1
The first day of the conference is dedicated to patients and their families. A wide range of professionals of different disciplines from across the country will be in attendance discussing and offering advice about living with mesothelioma. The morning starts with support groups, which are catered to the needs of those in attendance. These groups generally delve into the emotional trials the stem from a mesothelioma diagnosis. After that, a series of talks will cover everything from financial planning to getting involved in mesothelioma awareness.
Specialists Talk About Present and Future Treatment, Day 2
The crux of the annual conference is the discussions led by the specialists themselves. This is when the top mesothelioma specialists in the country talk about the most effective treatments currently in development. Due to the rarity of mesothelioma, clinical trials testing new treatment methods provide an immense source of options for patients, and these specialists aim to bring their audience up-to-date on new research.
Some notable doctors who will be speaking include:
- Dr. Raphael Bueno, Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center
- Dr. Harvey Pass, NYU Langone Medical Center
- Dr. Joseph Friedberg, University of Maryland Cancer Center
- Dr. Lee Krug, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Dr. H. Richard Alexander, University of Maryland Cancer Center
- Dr. Raffit Hassan, National Cancer Institute
The clinical trials of novel mesothelioma drugs CRS-207 and defactinib were one of the focuses of last year’s symposium and are likely to be mentioned again next week. These drugs have been making waves in the medical community because of their potential.
Dr. Francine Baumann, an epidemiologist from the University of Hawaii, will also discuss the potential hazards of naturally occurring asbestos in southern Nevada, the subject of some controversy and a recent New York Times article.
Advocacy Day, Day 3
The International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma always leaves the last day for direct advocacy on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., which is a short thirty minute drive from Bethesda for those unfamiliar with the area. Maintaining government funding for mesothelioma research is the main directive of advocacy day. During this time, patients and advocates meet with legislators in the nation’s capital to explain the importance of funding. Funding for research is crucial, and advocates will speak with specific actors that have historically provided funding, such as Congress and the Department of Defense.