Even though I have been a mesothelioma attorney for many years, I never get used to the heartbreak of each and every one of my mesothelioma clients. As I get to know each client and their families, they become more than clients. Each becomes a face I will never forget; a suffering human being who came into my life near the premature end of theirs to seek help and justice. And even though I am a mesothelioma attorney, my biggest wish is that there would be no more mesothelioma clients. No more suffering and pain to individuals and their families from the callously negligent exposure to asbestos from the mesothelioma client’s employer.
That is why I also closely follow medical mesothelioma research and have our firm’s charitable foundation financially support mesothelioma research that someday will help to prolong their lives.
In 2006, I was in Chicago attending a meeting of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group. One of the speakers was a key mesothelioma medical researcher from the prestigious University of Chicago medical school. Hedy Lee Kindler MD is a top international cancer expert and one of the best around for mesothelioma. In fact, she is the director of the Mesothelioma Research Program at the University of Chicago and a recent president of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group.
I spoke with Dr. Kindler who was also treating several of our clients. I was so impressed with the novel approaches she and her team were taking and decided to recommend to our Board of Directors that we financially support their work through the firm’s charitable foundation. And every year, I receive a wonderful summary of the research that contribution is helping to fund.
Dr. Kindler and her colleague Dr. Ravi Salgia now are evaluating a signaling pathway – molecules that kickstart cell activity – which appears to play a pivotal role in cell growth in malignant mesothelioma. Their goal of blocking this pathway could prove to be crucial to developing new mesothelioma therapies.
Other researchers in the program are carrying out studies using over 100 mesothelioma tissue samples and cells from the University of Chicago’s Thoracic Tumor Bank. These studies also will help clarify how specific pathways get activated in mesothelioma and how genetically-engineered drugs can target them.
“The opportunities in our clinical research program to deliver focused targeted therapies give us confidence that we will play a critical role in improving survival and outcomes for mesothelioma patients. Your partnership continues to help us achieve our shared vision,” states my annual thank you letter.
I am proud to be part of that vision.