MARF to Host International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma

Treatment & Doctors

Leading medical specialists will gather with mesothelioma patients, families, friends and advocates at the much-anticipated 2022 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, July 23, in Chicago. This is an event well worth attending.

The day-long symposium will be held at Summit Chicago, a welcoming venue where a wide range of mesothelioma experts will be speaking on related topics and mixing with all those who attend.

This is the first in-person gathering for the annual event since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the symposium will be available for viewing virtually, free of charge, for those unable to travel to Chicago.

The symposium is sponsored by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that includes physicians, researchers and advocates, all collaborating to help patients and families facing this rare cancer.

It is a unique opportunity to hear about the latest mesothelioma treatment options, talk one-on-one with mesothelioma specialists, join support groups and learn about groundbreaking clinical trials.

“This symposium has been a meeting like no other for the mesothelioma community,” said Jose Ortiz, medical outreach liaison for The Mesothelioma Center at, who attends regularly. “Unlike other conferences or meetings, it is very empowering because it allows actual patients and families who are battling this disease to engage in these important discussions and topics.”

Multiple Mesothelioma Talks Planned

On the schedule for Saturday are numerous presentations by specialists in the field. Each will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Those presentations include:

  • Systemic Therapies for Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Dr. Hedy Kindler, University of Chicago Medicine, will speak on precision medicine, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, VEGF inhibitors and chemotherapy.
  • Treatment Options for Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Dr. Travis Grotz with the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Kiran Turaga, University of Chicago Medicine, will discuss the effectiveness of HIPEC, systemic therapies and clinical trials for peritoneal mesothelioma.
  • Clinical Trials Consideration. Dr. Raffit Hassan of the National Cancer Institute will talk about all facets of clinical trials, including how they work, how to enroll, the pros and cons, who is eligible and where they are held.
  • Life During Treatment. Dr. Monica Malec with University of Chicago Medicine and Shannon Sinclair, RN, patient services director at MARF, will discuss issues that arise during treatment, including side effects, palliative/supportive care and potential outcomes.
  • Surgical and Multimodality Treatment Options for Pleural Mesothelioma. Dr. Joseph Friedberg, a thoracic surgeon at Temple Health, will talk about surgical options and treatments often used in conjunction with surgery, including neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapies.
  • Fighting Mesothelioma with Genetics, the Tumor Microenvironment and the Immune System. This discussion by Cara Haymaker, Ph.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Dr. Muaiad Kittaneh, Loyola University Medical Center, will center on genetic mutations and tumor microenvironments and how they are used to develop novel therapies to fight mesothelioma cancer.
  • Radiation Therapy and Radiation Oncology. Dr. Charles Simone with the New York Proton Center and Dr. Keith Cengel, Abramson Cancer Center, will talk about recent advancements in radiation oncology, how it affects mesothelioma patients and how it is used in conjunction with other therapies. They also will discuss Tumor Treating Fields, a recently approved treatment for use with mesothelioma.
  • Ins and Outs of Asbestos Litigation for Patients and Families. Legal issues pertaining to a mesothelioma diagnosis will be handled in a panel discussion led by Dawn Besserman and Neil Maune of The Gori Law Firm.

In-person attendees will also be able to participate in professionally moderated support groups specific to caregivers, patients and those who recently lost a family member to mesothelioma.

The Mesothelioma Center Will Be in Attendance

Medical attendees will meet in a scientific summit to discuss the future of mesothelioma treatment, then present a panel covering their discussions and conclusions to the patient/caregiver community.

Dr. Marjorie Zauderer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, chair of the MARF board, will provide opening remarks.

Several members from The Mesothelioma Center at will be in attendance, including registered nurse Karen Selby, medical outreach liaison Ortiz, oncology patient navigator Vanessa Blanco and Danielle DiPietro, VA-accredited claims agent.

Registration for community members attending the in-person event is $40. Virtual attendance is free, but registration is required.

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