International Mesothelioma Conference Will Kick Off at UCLA

Thoracic surgeon and renowned mesothelioma specialist Dr. Robert Cameron will be hosting the 6th International Symposium on Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Cameron, director of the UCLA Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program, is a global leader in the development of the lung-sparing pleurectomy/decortication surgery and a vocal advocate for military veterans who develop the asbestos-related disease.

The conference will cover the latest in mesothelioma therapeutics, including novel immunotherapies, gene therapy, upcoming clinical trials and surgical advancements. The purpose is to improve the understanding of multidisciplinary treatment, learn about adjuvant therapy possibilities, raise awareness to various types of immunological therapies, and emphasize the need to treat mesothelioma as a chronic disease.

Oncologists, pulmonologists, surgeons, nurses, medical students, mesothelioma advocates, patients and families across the nation will attend to exchange thoughts and ideas.

The Mesothelioma Center’s Patient Advocates Karen Selby and Vanessa Blanco will participate, ensuring patients and loved ones who reach out to the organization in the coming months will receive the latest information on mesothelioma treatments.

Selby, a registered nurse with a surgical and oncological background, joined The Mesothelioma Center in 2009.

“It’s important for us to be there, hearing about the cutting-edge research and learning about it even before it is published,” Selby said. “We go there to learn what’s working for patients, and what isn’t. It really helps us help our patients.”

The recently opened UCLA Luskin Conference Center will host the symposium. Each speaker will allow a question and answer session following the presentation. Patients, families and speakers can network during the intermissions.

International Panel of Mesothelioma Specialists

A panel of international specialists, including Cameron, will discuss a variety of important topics at the mesothelioma conference. These include:

  • Options for Intraoperative Adjuvant Therapies, Cameron
  • Genetic Immunotherapy for Pleural Mesothelioma, Dr. Daniel Sterman, New York University School of Medicine
  • Targeting Dendritic Cells in Vivo for Tumor Immunotherapy, Dr. Edgar Engleman, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • HOX Genes as Targets and Markers in Mesothelioma, Dr. Richard Morgan, Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, University of Bradford, England
  • Mesothelioma Prevention and Early Detection, Dr. Haining Yang, University of Hawaii Cancer Center

Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute Executive Director Clare Cameron (no relation to Dr. Robert Cameron) will speak on mesothelioma tissue-banking resources for researchers.

“I think patients and families especially will get a lot out of the symposium this year,” Clare Cameron said. “This could be our best symposium yet.”

Mesothelioma Conference Is a Learning Experience for All

Mesothelioma is the rare and aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. It is diagnosed in an estimated 3,000 people annually in the U.S. And while researchers made many advances in recent years, these breakthroughs reach the oncology community slowly, accentuating the need for the symposium.

Other clinical titles that will be discussed include:

  • Cryoablation in the Management of Recurrent Mesothelioma, Dr. Fereidoun Abtin, UCLA School of Medicine
  • Role of Immunotherapy in Advanced Pleural Mesothelioma, Dr. Thierry Jahan, University of California-San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • East-West Medicine Approaches to Cancer Therapy, Dr. Ka-Kit Hui, Centers for Integrative Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine
  • Harnessing the Full Potential of Immunotherapy by Targeting the Tumor Microenvironment, Dr. Raymond Wong, Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute

“The symposium is important because it’s a learning experience for everyone who comes,” Clare Cameron said. “There is still so much we can learn about this disease.”

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