Last weekend, hundreds of medical professionals made their way to Los Angeles to attend the 6th International Symposium on Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, a conference focused on learning more about this rare asbestos-caused cancer and the new ways to approach treatment for the disease, which is diagnosed each year in about 2,500 Americans and many more individuals worldwide.
The attendees at the UCLA-based conference included pulmonary physicians, oncologists who specialize in the treatment of the disease, other mesothelioma experts keen on learning from and sharing with their colleagues, and mesothelioma patients and their families who attended in order to learn more about the disease and its treatment.
The keynote speaker this year was Dr. Robert B. Cameron, professor of clinical cardiothoracic surgery and surgical oncology director for the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. Cameron is also chief of thoracic surgery at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and is known for his cutting edge work with pleural mesothelioma patients.
Much of the conference centered on the use of immunotherapy treatment of this aggressive form of cancer. Other presenters included:
- Dr. Edward Engleman, Stanford School of Medicine – Targeting Dendritic Cells in Vivo for Tumor Immunotherapy
- Dr. Thierry Jahan, UC San Francisco Cancer Center – The Role of Immunotherapy in Advanced Pleural Mesothelioma
- Dr. Edmund Moon – University of PA, Perlman School of Medicine – Adoptive Immunotherapy Utilizing Chimeric Antigen Receptor
- Dr. Richard Morgan, University of Bradford, England – HOX Genes as Targets and Markers in Mesothelioma
- Dr. Daniel Sterman, NYU Langone Medical Center – Genetic Immunotherapy for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma
- Dr. Haining Yang, University of Hawaii Cancer Center – Mesothelioma Prevention and Early Detection – Are We There Yet?
Faculty members for the symposium also presented updates on clinical trials involving pleural mesothelioma patients and roundtable discussions were part of the day’s agenda as well. In addition, a professor at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine presented an interesting talk about diverse approaches to cancer therapy in eastern and western cultures, and a nurse practitioner discussed the benefits of “nurse navigators” in mesothelioma.
The doctors who spoke at the symposium are the tops in their field and are the professionals that many pleural mesothelioma victims seek out when looking for a physician to handle their case. These doctors and many like them are dedicated to finding a better solution for treatment for the disease, which has historically been difficult to tackle.
It’s important to note that new mesothelioma patients seeking a physician to handle their case should interview their potential medical team carefully, questioning them about their knowledge of the latest treatments for the disease, including immunotherapy treatment, and whether or not they participate in clinical trials or are up-to-date on those currently available.
If cost is an issue in obtaining the best care available, patients should check with their healthcare provider for coverage specifics and should remember that obtaining compensation from the party or parties responsible for their disease may help them in paying for the best treatment available.