Treatment & Doctors

International Symposium on Mesothelioma to Focus on Immunotherapy

Written By:
Sep 26, 2018
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Written By: Tim Povtak,
September 26, 2018

The eighth annual International Symposium on Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Saturday at UCLA will reflect the rapidly evolving philosophy on future treatment of this rare cancer.

Change is coming.

The Symposium, which was first held in 2011 to help bring awareness to lung-sparing surgery, will highlight groundbreaking discoveries and the latest advances in immunotherapy and gene therapy — believed to be the future of cancer care.

The longtime chemotherapy and surgery standard-of-care routine is fading.

The symposium at the Luskin Conference Center on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles will help explain why.

“There is so much exciting science from around the world in terms of treatment for mesothelioma, with promising medical advances,” said thoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Cameron, director of the UCLA Mesothelioma Comprehensive Research Program. “This year, we have changed the format to concentrate more on clinical and research sessions.”

An International Roster of Speakers

Cameron is also the scientific advisor for the Pacific Mesothelioma Center (PMC), the first research laboratory in the U.S. dedicated solely to the development of novel treatment for this deadly cancer.

The program will include an international roster of distinguished scientists, researchers, surgeons, radiologists and oncologists. These specialists will present novel diagnostics and potential treatment advances.

Cameron will open the program with a presentation entitled, “Perioperative Immunotherapy: Surgery as Immunotherapy.”

Perioperative immunotherapy is a novel technique that combines tumor resection with slow-release immunotherapy drugs to stop or slow tumor recurrence and metastatic growth.

The program will close with Dr. Mikihiro Kohno from the Toronto General Research Institute discussing his work with the “Immunosupressive Tumor Microenvironment of Malignant Mesothelioma.”

Exploring Future Advances in Mesothelioma Treatment

The International Symposium on Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma also will include:

  • Mesothelioma Clinical Trials: Novel and Combination Systemic Therapies,” Dr. Olga Olevsky, clinical professor, UCLA School of Medicine

  • “An Exhaled Breath Biopsy Earmarks Exclusive Screening for MPM,” Kevin Lamote, PhD, University of Antwerp (Belgium)

  • “Novel MRI Assessment of Mesothelioma Tumor Volume,” Dr. Kevin Blyth, associate professor, University of Glasgow (Scotland)

  • “Toxicities and Outcomes using Whole Pleural Intensity – Modulated Proton Therapy,” Dr. Charles Simone, University of Maryland Proton Treatment Center

  • “Understanding the Immune Response to Radiotherapy in a Dual Tumor Model of Mesothelioma,” Wesley Wilson, PhD, University of Western Australia

  • “Integrative Molecular Characterization of Mesothelioma: Cancer Genome Atlas Project,” Dr. Marc Ladanyi, Memorial Sloan Cancer Center, New York

  • “A Modified Measles Virus Against Mesothelioma: Oncolytic and Immunotherapeutic Potential,” Nicolas Boisgerault, PhD, CRCINA Cancer Research Center, France

  • “Mesothelioma Immunotherapy by Controlling T Cell-Mediated Immunity,” Masahide Tone, PhD, Pacific Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (PHLBI), Los Angeles

As Director of Research at the PHLBI and PMC, Tone is building a novel immunotherapy program that includes enhancing anti-tumor immunity under the immunosuppressive tumor environments.

He previously led research efforts in cancer immunology, molecular biology and immunotherapy in the U.K. and at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Symposium is aimed at a wide audience, including mesothelioma specialists, medical students, scientists, patients and families, and anyone interested in the latest clinical advances.

“We are excited to welcome our speakers from around the world, many of whom will highlight the growing development of immunotherapy in the treatment of mesothelioma” said Clare Cameron, executive director of PMC. “This is an exciting time.”

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