Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute Is Dissolving

Research & Clinical Trials

The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute in Los Angeles, California, will be permanently closing after more than two decades of work to develop treatments for rare cancers such as mesothelioma as well as diseases of the heart, lungs, and blood.

Since 2002, the mission of the nonprofit organization has focused on creating hope through research and education. The Pacific Mesothelioma Center, which has been a division of the PHLBI since 2012, has been working to improve the lives of mesothelioma patients by sharing information about malignant pleural mesothelioma and conducting research in hopes of finding a cure.

In a release shared with the organization’s donors, the Executive Director of PHLBI Clare Cameron, revealed the group’s fundraising and research challenges. 

“During these disruptive times, it has been hard to raise money, and difficult to find qualified scientists to oversee and perform the work in our Lab,” according to Cameron’s statement. “After extensive conversations failed to have UCLA take our Institute under its wing, the Board of Directors decided that the best way to ensure that most of the money raised was being used for the purpose to perform the Mission, decided to dissolve the nonprofit, and donate its equipment and money to Institutes who have well-oiled machines with resources.”

Cameron explained that the PHLBI is in the process of donating its equipment and funding to UCLA and Oregon Health & Sciences University. The organization is closely working with leaders at both universities to ensure the transition is handled properly.

Years of Mesothelioma Research at PHLBI

The PHLBI has played a major role in mesothelioma research, treatments and fundraising for more than a decade. All of its fundraising events are on hold.

For the mesothelioma community, including Medical Outreach Director for The Mesothelioma Center at Missy Miller, the group’s dissolution leaves a void in critical research.

“Their research focused on new lung-sparing treatment options for patients who were diagnosed with this horrible disease in an effort to give them a better quality of life. The loss of resources, loss of research funding, and loss of support for mesothelioma patients that PHLBI provided will have several impacts on the mesothelioma community,” Miller told “The biggest disappointment will be losing a very talented group of scientists who had a passion and determination in helping find a cure for mesothelioma.” 

Pacific Mesothelioma Center’s Legacy

PHLBI officials created the Pacific Mesothelioma Center in 2012 with the goal of finding a cure for malignant pleural mesothelioma. 

Dr. Robert B. Cameron has served as scientific advisor for the PMC. He is also a professor of clinical surgery, cardiothoracic surgery and surgical oncology at the UCLA Medical School and has pioneered the lung-sparing surgical procedure known as pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Cameron’s research will continue at UCLA’s Punch Worthington Laboratory where researchers are investigating new strategies in the treatment of mesothelioma and other cancers.

“Our gift to UCLA’s Foundation will build a legacy for PHLBI to incentivize the continuation of Dr. Cameron’s research at UCLA’s Punch Lab and honor the longtime collaboration between the two organizations,” Clare Cameron said in a release. “Dr. Cameron’s goal is to be able to recalibrate the mesothelioma patient’s immune response to recognize and fight the cancer. In the process he and his team will evaluate potential therapies, including his long-term interest in gene-modified mesenchymal stem cells from various sources.”

Since its inception, the PHLBI has held several fundraising events such as virtual concerts, walks, motorcycle rides, casino nights and art gallery viewings. Several of those events raised more than $100,000 in research funding.

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