The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is hosting its 11th annual International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma from March 5th to 7th in Alexandria, Virginia. The conference is for patients, family members and doctors alike. It will host approximately 200 guests.

“The goal of the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma is to bring together patients and their families, doctors, scientists, other medical professionals, as well as advocates, to allow for an unprecedented level of information-sharing,” said the Meso Foundation’s Maja Belamaric.

Most of the sessions on Thursday and Friday will be available via live streaming. Patients and families can register for the conference or view the streamed discussions at

The conference will host over 30 Symposium Speakers, featuring well-renowned mesothelioma specialists. Most of these specialists are well-renowned and talented doctors.

Keynote speakers at the conference are:

  • Dr. Ira Pastan, head of the Molecular Biology Section of the National Cancer Institute
  • Dr. Dean Fennell, Chair of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Leicester
  • Dr. Michele Carbone, Director of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center

Advocacy Day

The first day of the symposium is set up to get attendees immediately, and directly, involved in spreading awareness for mesothelioma. This advocacy day will begin with advocacy presentations given by government experts, followed by a day long excursion to Capitol Hill.

On this day, all attendees become advocates for the mesothelioma community, speaking directly with their specific representatives and senators. The Meso Foundation sets up all appointments with representatives, and attendees will have group meetings with other attendees from the same state.

“Our advocates will share their stories and experiences in an effort to raise awareness of mesothelioma and make the case for an increased federal investment in mesothelioma medical research,” said Belamaric. “We have found support for medical research on both sides of the aisle.”

Advocacy day offers an opportunity many in the mesothelioma community don’t ever get—a chance to make a personal impact on the search for a cure.

Scientific Seminar

A somewhat new program, the Mesothelioma Scientific Seminar is hosted for medical professionals to discuss the efficacy of current treatment methods as well as advances in treatment. This year the Meso Foundation decided to expand on the scientific side of the conference.

“The goal and the hope is that this meeting of the minds will bring us a step closer to what mesothelioma patients and their families need most – a cure,” said Belamaric.

Science and Community Sessions

Thursday and Friday at the conference are a variety of discussions on nearly every topic mesothelioma patients and families are curious about. These discussions are led by top specialists from across the world. The discussions purposely cover a wide array of topics to meet the needs of every attendee.

Just a few of the topics include:

  • Immunotherapy—Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler of the University of Chicago, who has been personally affected by mesothelioma in her family, will be one of the presenters for this topic.
  • Surgical Recovery—With the radical surgeries associated with mesothelioma, this discussion is likely to clear up a lot of questions and misconceptions.
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma—Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, who has a celebrity-like status in the mesothelioma community, will talk about this rare type of mesothelioma.
  • Cancer Stem Cells—Dr. Faris Farassati will discuss the future of treating mesothelioma by attacking cancer stem cells, which is showing a lot of potential as a maintenance treatment for mesothelioma.
  • Survivorship Panel—The survivorship panel is designed to tackle the issues that arise after the completion of mesothelioma treatment.

One of the most exciting parts of these discussion is being able to sit down in one place and have dinner with multiple mesothelioma specialists from all over the country and world.

The Meso Foundation is focused on finding a cure for mesothelioma through funding worldwide research, helping patients get the latest treatment options and advocating for more federal funding of mesothelioma research. The foundation relies on private funding from patients, families, law firms and drug companies.

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    Sources & Author

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About the Writer, Andrew Devine

Andrew Devine is a contributing writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He has developed an interest in educating patients and their families on everything from new treatments to what to expect after diagnosis.