Mesothelioma Research Organization Announces New Prevention Program

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The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation announced today the launch of its new prevention program as part of its mission to eradicate mesothelioma.

In conjunction with the Asbestos Awareness Week, which takes place from April 1-7, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) announced the formation of its new prevention program, to complement its existing work in mesothelioma research, education, support, and advocacy.

“As part of the Meso Foundation’s mission, we want to eliminate harmful exposures and extinguish fears of diseases related to asbestos, including mesothelioma,” said the Meso Foundation’s executive director, Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner.

“By uniting globally with top experts, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation strives to be the leader in mesothelioma prevention, taking one additional step towards eradicating this disease,” she added.

The EPA estimates that asbestos is still present in tens of millions of homes, government buildings, schools, and has also been found naturally-occurring in the soil in several locations in the United States, sometimes in very close proximity to inhabited areas. According to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an estimated 1.3 million construction employees continue to be occupationally exposed to asbestos. When disturbed, asbestos particles become airborne and are easily inhaled. No amount of exposure is deemed safe.

In the United States, many workers in a number of industries and occupations, their families, and even people with no history of occupational exposure were exposed and continue to be exposed to asbestos.

The Meso Foundation has hired Diane Blackburn-Zambetti as its new director of policy and prevention education. Ms. Blackburn-Zambetti has developed significant first-hand experience with the impacts of these conditions through her 30 year career as a radiation therapist. She has treated many types of cancers during her tenure, including mesothelioma. The most inspirational patient of her career would be her father, Dale Blackburn, whose pleural mesothelioma diagnosis in 2002 became her driving force. Ms. Blackburn-Zambetti is OSHA certified and has been educating trade union members about asbestos and its dangers since 2005.

The Meso Foundation will implement this program by:

  • Bringing together top environmental and medical experts who share the common goal of eradicating mesothelioma;
  • Creating and delivering educational programs to high-risk individuals and the general population about asbestos and other known carcinogens. This will emphasize knowledge as the key to exposure prevention;
  • Instilling a thought process of “Stop – Look – Think” to eliminate reactive decisions, prevent unnecessary exposures and take-home exposures;
  • Creating an accessible base of information regarding possible asbestos-containing materials and proper asbestos-containing material remediation;
  • Funding research into early detection of mesothelioma and at-risk populations.

More information about the Foundation’s prevention program is available at

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. Medical experts consider it one of the most aggressive and deadly of all cancers. An estimated one-third of those who develop mesothelioma were exposed while serving in the Navy or working in shipyards.

The Meso Foundation is the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma and easing the suffering caused by this cancer. The Meso Foundation actively seeks philanthropic support to fund peer-reviewed mesothelioma research; provide patient support services and education; and advocate Congress for increased federal funding for mesothelioma research. The Meso Foundation is the only non-government funder of peer reviewed scientific research to establish effective treatments for mesothelioma and, ultimately, a cure for this extremely aggressive cancer. To date, the Foundation has awarded over $9 million to research. More information is available at

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Maja Belamaric
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