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A Sweedish pharmaceutical company recently announced it has seen positive results with a therapeutic cancer vaccine that could potentially be used in combination with other immuno-oncology drugs to treat metastatic malignant mesothelioma. The results of the clinical trials showed that more than half of the participants did not demonstrate disease progression, and none of the patients experienced unexpected safety issues which showed that the drug combinations were well-tolerated.

Drugmaker Ultimovacs ASA conducted the study on a group of 20 mesothelioma cancer patients who received a combination of the company’s UV1 cancer vaccine and pembrolizumab, PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor. This group of patients participated in the company’s Phase I study for the drug combination, which is designed to test the safety, tolerability, and initial signs of clinical response in patients treated with UV1 in combination with pembrolizumab.

Commenting on the study, Ultimovacs Chief Medical Officer released a statement saying, “The safety profile observed to date in this first cohort of the PD-L1 combination study is consistent with the promising safety profiles seen in our earlier Phase I trials. For the further development of our vaccine, it is important to demonstrate that UV1 can be combined with different classes of immunotherapies without compromising on safety.”

A New Jersey federal judge recently denied a motion to throw out a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit brought by the widow of a man who claimed he developed terminal cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos while serving aboard U.S. Navy ships. With the judge’s ruling, the lawsuit clears an important legal hurdle for the victims’ surviving spouse to hold the defendants accountable for their actions of putting her late husband and potentially other service members at risk for serious health conditions.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the deceased victim was exposed to asbestos fibers while serving aboard U.S.S. Charles H. Roan in the 1960s. The source of the asbestos exposure, according to the lawsuit, was from forced draft blowers manufactured with asbestos-containing gaskets manufactured by defendant Westinghouse. Those parts needed periodical replacement, based on specifications by the U.S. Navy.

Additionally, the U.S.S. Roan was equipped with a pair of boilers manufactured by co-defendant Foster Wheeler, which were also manufactured with asbestos-containing parts, including gaskets, sheet, and packing. Those asbestos parts too were expected to be replaced periodically. Both Westinghouse and Foster Wheeler had argued in their motion for summary judgment that the U.S. Navy was in full control of any maintenance, repair, or overhaul of the ship and further dedicated the type of material that needed to be installed or replaced on the vessel.  As a result, both Westinghouse and Foster Wheeler argued that they did not have a duty to warn for asbestos-containing parts manufactured by third parties.

A New York state appellate court recently upheld the verdict in an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by a widower on behalf of his deceased wife who claimed that the defendant in the case was responsible for her diagnosis of terminal cancer caused by exposure to mesothelioma. The defendant, Federal Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust, as Successor to Felt Products Manufacturers, had appealed the jury’s award at trial, which handed down a substantial $75 million verdict on behalf of the plaintiff.

The lawsuit against the entity representing Felt Products Manufacturers, filed in a New York City Asbestos Court, claimed that the victim developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos containing Fel-Pro gaskets manufactured by the defendant. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit claimed that the victim regularly helped her husband remove and change asbestos containing engine gaskets from their vehicles and from taking her and her husband’s dusty clothes into their laundry room to clean.

The jury hearing the case at trial awarded damages of $50 million to the victim for pain and suffering, $40 million for past and $10 million for future; and $25 million to her husband for loss of consortium, $15 million for past, $10 million for future. In appealing that award, the defendant asserted that it was excessive and was unwarranted based on the evidence presented at trial. In hearing the appeal, the Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York vastly reduced the amount of the award, to $12 million for past and $4 million for future pain and suffering for the victim; and for loss of services to $1 million for past, and $250,000 for future damages for her husband.

A Louisiana federal judge recently handed down an important ruling in an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by the estate of a man who claimed he developed mesothelioma after previously settling with the defendant over other asbestos-related health claims. In her ruling, the Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Louisiana determined that the victim’s settlement agreement with the defendant, Avondale Shipyards, did not preclude him from bringing his most recent claim alleging that he developed mesothelioma while working at the facility.

The asbestos cancer lawsuit was brought by the victim’s family on his behalf. The victim had passed away in 2018 due to complications with mesothelioma, and his surviving family took up the lawsuit on behalf of his estate. Defense attorneys for Avondale Shipyard had previously sought to have the case remanded to a federal court back in 2018, claiming that the federal officer removal statute required the case to be heard in a federal district court because the company acted under the direction of a federal entity.

This time, Avondale Shipyard pointed to settlement agreements the victim had entered into with no less than 37 entities back in 1991 concerning his asbestosis diagnosis. Asbestos is a long term inflammation and scarring of the lungs due to exposure to asbestos fibers, usually from breathing in the material. Its symptoms may include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest tightness. In both lawsuits, the plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos fibers during the course of his employment at the shipyard, and sought to hold the defendants accountable for each separate health claim.

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