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A pair of recent studies suggest that a certain treatment may be able to help treat mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that often affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs, but may also affect other parts of the body. The treatment, called talc pleurodesis, is a surgical procedure to help prevent pleural effusions, which is when fluid builds around the lungs, making it hard for the patient to breathe and allow the disease to spread.

In a recent study published by the Journal of Thoracic Disease, researchers found that the procedure improves survival rates of patients better than some other lung fluid treatments. The results further suggest that the treatment, which is less invasive than others, may be a better quality of life option than more aggressive surgery to remove tumors surrounding the lungs.

The study, conducted by Dr. Emanuela Taioli of the Institute of Translational Epidemiology at Ichan, examined almost 50 other studies focused on the survival rates of patients who underwent talc pleurodesis compared to those who underwent surgery. Research showed that on average, the survival rate of patients treated with talc pleurodesis was 14 months, compared to 17 months for those who underwent invasive surgery, like pleurectomy and decortication, and 24 months for even more aggressive surgeries like extrapleural pneumonectomy.

A New Jersey state jury recently handed down a $2.38 million plaintiff’s verdict in an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by a man who claimed he developed mesothelioma cancer from years of exposure to asbestos shipped to his workplace by the defendant. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit named Union Carbide as the defendant, and was eventually carried on by the victim’s widow after he succumbed to the disease which he claimed was caused by the defendant’s negligence.

The road to justice was a long one for the victim and his widow, originally filing the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit in June 2011. Years later in 2015, the judge hearing the case granted summary judgement to Union Carbide after the company argued that the plaintiff failed to acquire enough evidence showing the victim worked directly with asbestos-contaminated products produced by the defendant.

Asbestos is directly linked with developing a rare and deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma. The disease commonly affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and abdomen. There is currently no cure for mesothelioma and the disease often takes decades to show symptoms, leaving patients with diminished treatment options by the time a diagnosis is made.

A Memphis, Tennessee hospital recently began using a first of its kind electric therapy treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the progression of mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. “Because it is such a rare cancer, there has been little research opportunities to advance science and treatment of mesothelioma,” said Dr. Moon Fenton, West Cancer Center hematologist while speaking to local media.

For decades, doctors treated mesothelioma through a combination of surgery, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy. Now, doctors will have access to a fourth treatment option via the NovoTTF-100. The devices functions by attaching three to the front and back of the patient’s chest and sending electric fields into the body to target and disrupt mesothelioma cancer cells from growing and spreading, all while allowing healthy cells to remain intact.

“We are looking at 97% disease control at year one. So, patients who are using this technology in addition to the chemotherapy actually have stable disease or great response to treatment,” said Dr. Fenton in a local NBC interview. “This treatment is not invasive, and has minimal side effects.” Patient’s at Dr. Fenton’s hospital, West Cancer Center, will wear the device for 18 hours per day to treat mesothelioma.

A New York City judge recently handed down an important ruling in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit brought by a former electrician who claims the defendant, a boiler manufacturer, caused his mesothelioma by exposing him to deadly asbestos fibers. The lawsuit names Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Burnham LLC as the defendant, alleging the company knowingly produced and shipped products that required after-market parts made with asbestos, specifically asbestos-cement used as an insulation for the equipment.

The plaintiff, now unfortunately deceased, claimed in his lawsuit that during his time as an electrician with his employer, Vanderlin Electrical Contractors, he frequently worked with boilers manufactured by Burnham LLC. The victim claimed that the units delivered by the defendant to his job site at Wesleyan College without the required insulation “jacket” and that insulation workers also on site had to mix asbestos cement to create the insulation needed to complete installation.

Furthermore, the plaintiff, in his sworn deposition testimony before his passing, recalled he was required to remove the very same asbestos insulation on the boilers in order to access valves on the boilers, and would breathe in the dust created during both the application and removal of the insulation. As a result of years of exposure to asbestos fibers in the course of working on boilers produced by Burnham LLC, the plaintiff claimed he developed mesothelioma cancer, a rare and deadly form of cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure.

A California-based cosmetics company recently initiated a recall of four of its makeup products over asbestos-contamination concerns. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consumers are advised to immediately cease using four products produced by Beauty Plus Global Inc after testing  by the FDA revealed those items showed asbestos contamination. Those products in the company’s City Color makeup range are:

  • Matte blush (fuchsia);
  • Cosmetics timeless beauty palette;

A St. Louis state jury recently handed down a substantial $8.4 million plaintiff’s verdict on behalf of a former auto mechanic who claimed his mesothelioma cancer diagnosis was due to negligence on the part of Ford Motor Company. The jury’s award included $5,725,000 in actual damages and $2 million in punitive damages, as well as an additional $708,000 in actual damages for the victim’s wife, finding she “did sustain damage as a direct result of injury to her husband.”

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in St. Louis City Circuit Court, the plaintiff was allegedly exposed to asbestos fibers by working with brakes, gaskets, clutches, and OEM replacement parts developed and sold by Ford Motor Company. As a result of years of exposure to asbestos, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer which usually affects the lungs but can spread to other areas of the body such as the heart and abdomen.

The plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer lawsuit claims that despite Ford’s knowledge about the risks the asbestos in its auto parts could pose to innocent people, the automaker chose not to provide any warning about the dangers. The plaintiff worked as a mechanic at Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln automobile dealerships from the 1960s until the 1980s, much of that during a period before the federal government had addressed the dangers of asbestos.

Many people assume that asbestos has been banned from commercial, industrial, and military use, but the truth is that the substance, often used as an insulation, is merely so heavily regulated that it is “effectively” banned. Federal regulations put in place since the 1970s have essentially outlawed use of asbestos by making it extremely difficult to obtain approval from the federal government for approval of new uses of the substance.

However, that does not mean innocent people are still not suffering harm from asbestos exposure. Only a few dozen countries have complete bans on asbestos and several others are beginning to increase their exports of the mineral to emerging markets worldwide. Thanks to a new rule that went into effect in June, the U.S. could soon allow new uses of asbestos to be studied and possibly grow the market here.

That rule came to an amendment of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) which prohibits manufacturing, processing, and distribution of commercial asbestos as well as asbestos-containing mixtures and articles used for other purposes. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the changes to the TSCA only allow the agency to monitor the development, use, and disposal of dangerous substances, including asbestos, critics worry it would open the door to revive asbestos usage.

A Florida state appeals court recently denied a motion by the defendant in an asbestos cancer lawsuit to bar testimony from one of its company executives who plaintiffs say would have inside knowledge about the defendant’s history and interactions with asbestos-containing products, as well as its adherence to occupational health and safety laws. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit names utility company Florida Power & Light Co. as the defendant and accused the business of knowingly exposing the plaintiff to dangerous carcinogens which caused his cancer diagnosis and other health problems.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, originally filed in 2017 in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma from decades of asbestos exposure over the course of his employment at Florida Power & Light Co. The plaintiff asserts that the company’s negligence is responsible for his deadly cancer diagnosis by allowing him to work with and around asbestos at power plants operated by Florida Power & Light without any warning about the dangers posed by the carcinogenic material.

In its defense of the lawsuit, Florida Power & Light Co. sought a court’s injunction to block the plaintiff from deposing corporate representatives who would testify about the victim’s work conditions at the time of his employment. According to court documents, “FPL moved for protective orders from each notice and in support, submitted an affidavit prepared by its senior attorney, stating that compliance and production would require FPL to expend significant time, be voluminous and would cost millions of dollars.”

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications mostly for its ability to be molded into almost any shape, as well as its heat-resistant properties. Unfortunately, the widespread use of asbestos attributes to 3,000 annual diagnoses even to this day.

Asbestos was once commonly used in vinyl flooring tiles, home insulation, auto parts-such as brakes and gaskets, and even in everyday appliances like ovens. The mineral found extensive use in industrial applications for pipefitting, steamfitting, and other heavy-duty insulation and gasket-making applications. Asbestos was once widely used in military applications aboard Navy ships in engine rooms.

One of the main complications with mesothelioma is its latency period – the time between exposure and diagnosis, which can be anywhere from 20 years to 50 years, leaving patients with diminished treatment options upon diagnosis. The type of mesothelioma discovered can also further complicate matters. The three main types of mesothelioma are:

A New Jersey federal judge held key evidentiary hearings in coordinated pretrial proceedings covering thousands of asbestos talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson through the process of multidistrict litigation (MDL). Lawsuits involved in MDL allow both sides to conduct common discovery in cases to apply rules at trial which will apply at trial for all the individual cases, a procedure which may benefit both plaintiffs and defendants depending on the judge’s rulings.

Of particular importance to the pretrial MDL hearings in the asbestos cancer lawsuits are the expert witnesses identified by the plaintiffs to testify at trial. Those expert witnesses include biologists, physicians and epidemiologists who have concluded there is scientific evidence that talc use can cause ovarian cancer. Back in May 2019, Johnson & Johnson asked the federal judge overseeing the MDL process to exclude the opinions of 22 expert witnesses retained by the plaintiff on the grounds these individuals “they misapply scientific principles” and “engage in unsupported leaps of logic.”

Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson have said in media interviews that an exclusion of some or all of the plaintiffs’ witnesses along with a judge’s ruling there is insufficient evidence of causation to present to any jury would wipe out the majority of the cases before they could see a courtroom. On the other hand, the plaintiffs’ lawyers have asked the judge to deny Johnson & Johnson’s request, arguing their expert witnesses are qualified and rely on sound methodologies to reach their opinions.

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