MARF’s Mesothelioma Symposium Should Provide Insight into New Research

MARF Symposium

Some of the top names in clinical research, novel therapies and advocacy will be gathering this week in Washington, D.C., to share their expertise at the ninth annual Mesothelioma Foundation Symposium.

Questions will be answered. Concerns will be addressed. Survivors will be honored.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) will host the three-day event that starts Wednesday with an orchestrated lobbying effort on Capitol Hill, allowing patients, families and advocates to meet with elected officials.

Thursday and Friday will be filled with lectures, seminars and question-and-answer sessions designed to unravel the topic of mesothelioma, the rare cancer caused by an exposure to asbestos.

MARF is the most well known national organization dedicated entirely to finding a cure for and eradicating mesothelioma as a life-threatening disease.

It helps fund mesothelioma research projects, helps patients with a variety of services, advocates regularly for federal funding and pushes for legislation to ban all use of asbestos.

Patient Advocates for The Mesothelioma Center will be in Washington to provide the highlights at Asbestos.com. Beginning Thursday, MARF will live stream events for anyone unable to attend the symposium.

Dr. Lee Krug of Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York will speak Thursday on Progress in Mesothelioma Research.

An All-Star panel that includes doctors Raja Flores (Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York), Harvey Pass (New York Medical Center), David Sugarbaker (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston), Daniel Sterman (Abramson Cancer Center, Philadelphia), Robert Taub (Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University, New York) and Raffit Hassan (National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland) will hold a panel discussion on Demystifying Scientific Breakthroughs.

Doctors will discuss both the present and future trends regarding the disease.

Much of the symposium is designed for those living with mesothelioma and their caregivers. It is diagnosed in an estimated 3,000 Americans annually, and almost always traced to asbestos.

There will be smaller sessions on a multitude of topics, including:

  • Living with cancer and beyond;
  • Bereavement;
  • Loss and recovery;
  • Caregiver conversations;
  • A session on coping with mesothelioma;
  • Planning for your life and your legacy; and
  • A toolkit for dealing with stress.

There will be detailed discussions on easing the pain from cancer and another on raising asbestos and mesothelioma awareness in your community.

The Symposium ends with an informational talk on the global panorama of mesothelioma given by Laurie Kazan-Allen of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, and Jessica Barker, the Meso Foundation’s Government Affairs director.

Much of the two days will be moderated by Kathy Wiedemer, executive director of the Meso Foundation, and Mary Hesdorffer, NP at the Meso Foundation.

Special care is being given to the Congressional visits on Wednesday in hopes of boosting financial support for the long-neglected field of mesothelioma research. An estimated one-third of mesothelioma patients are military veterans with a high concentration in the Navy.

The Foundation is pushing for a $5 million annual appropriation for research within the Department of Defense budget.


Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His most recent experience is in researching and writing about asbestos litigation issues and asbestos-related conditions like mesothelioma. If you have a story idea for Tim, please email him at tpovtak@asbestos.com

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