Meso Foundation Awards $500,000 for Mesothelioma Research

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The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation announced its decision to fund five mesothelioma research projects amounting to a total of $500,000 and bringing the Foundation’s overall investment in research to $7.6 million.

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This year we have awarded another half million dollars toward the search for a cure.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) announced today the funding of an additional five mesothelioma research projects in an effort to accelerate the search for new and effective treatments and a cure. The five winning projects were chosen out of a pool of 46 applications.

“This year we have awarded another half million dollars toward the search for a cure. Our mission to cure meso is clear and we won’t stop until it’s accomplished,” said Kathy Wiedemer, the executive director of the Meso Foundation.

Meso Foundation’s funding is based on a strict peer-review process and selection. This means that all projects are reviewed and ranked by the members of the organization’s Science Advisory Board (constituted of world-renowned mesothelioma experts).

“The Science Advisory Board peer-review process allows us to ensure that only the best and most promising studies are funded,” added Wiedemer.

This year’s projects include a study attempting to combine all genomic data of ten different pleural mesothelioma tumors, to obtain insight into their various molecular characteristics and to define the association of defective genes with how they impact the properties of cells that become malignant. This study looks to connect the findings with the actual clinical course of the ten patients whose tumors are being studied to find out which genes are truly meaningful in disease treatment.

Another project will investigate how interferon gamma (an important protein in our immune system) is involved in regulating the response of mesothelioma cells to chemotherapy-induced cell death. Preliminary data from this group show that the sensitivity of mesothelioma cell lines to pemetrexed (Alimta) directly correlates with the ability of the tumor cells to respond to this protein. Furthermore, patients treated with pemetrexed who had low or absent levels of p48 (a biomarker for interferon protein’s response) in their tumor cells, had significantly longer disease-free intervals and longer time-to-progression in comparison with patients with high p48-levels tumors. A better understanding of this protective mechanism can further assist in determining optimal treatment strategies and potentially augmenting effects of chemotherapy.

The five new grants will bring to 76 the total number of grants funded by the Meso Foundation. These projects and others funded by the Meso Foundation are available on the Foundation’s website.

ABOUT THE MESOTHELIOMA APPLIED RESEARCH FOUNDATION
The Meso Foundation is the leading organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma and easing the suffering caused by it, by funding peer-reviewed mesothelioma research, providing patient support services and education, and advocating Congress for increased federal funding for research. Mesothelioma funding, per death, has historically been extremely low, especially when compared to other cancers. The Meso Foundation was founded in 2000 to address this imbalance and since then has independently funded over $7.6 million in peer-reviewed mesothelioma research. More information is available at http://www.curemeso.org.

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