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Articles Posted in Mesothelioma Attorney

A recently published Japanese study conducted by university oncologists shows improved outcomes for certain mesothelioma patients who undergo near-infrared irradiation treatment used in combination with a cancer-targeting compound. The experiment, which was conducted on laboratory mice, as well as human cells with malignant mesothelioma found that near-infrared photoimmunotherapy was an effective and low-risk method for killing cancer cells without harming the surrounding tissues.

Conducted by Nagoya University, the treatment on the subjects utilized a cancer-targeting antibody compound, designed to a specific structure on the cancer cells, and a photo-absorber called IR700. When the near-infrared light is shone on the cancer-infected part of the body, the antibody compound aggregates on the membranes of the tumor cells, which ruptures the cells and kills the tumor.

“The lungs and chest cavity contain a large amount of air and are thus very good at effectively transmitting near-infrared light,” says Kazuhide Sato of Nagoya University. “NIR-PIT is a safe phototherapy option that can target a region of interest. The antibody-IR700 conjugate is also non-toxic to the body in the absence of near-infrared light irradiation. We thus thought that NIR-PIT could be an effective strategy for controlling localized MPM.”

A recent study examining a new therapy in an emerging cancer treatment known as T-cell therapy has shown positive results, according to an executive with the clinical-stage immunotherapy company that developed the treatment. Developed by TCR2 Therapeutics Inc., TC-210 TRuC-T cell products were given to five mesothelioma cancer patients who took part in the study. The results showed a median reduction range from the sum of the diameters of the tumors of 42%.

“We are delighted that our very first dose of TC-210 induced consistent tumor regression and clinical benefit in heavily pre-treated cancer patients,” said Garry Menzel, Ph.D., of TCR2 Therapeutics. “There are very few options for patients with solid tumors and those expressing mesothelin represent a significant frontier of unmet medical need. While these are early data requiring further study, we are encouraged by the potential of our TRuC-T cells as we continue to enroll and treat patients with the goal of quickly finding a recommended Phase 2 dose for TC-210.”

According to the research company, the primary focus of the Phase 1 portion of the study on TC-210 was to “define the safety profile of TC-210 in patients whose tumors overexpress mesothelin and to determine the recommended Phase 2 dose (RP2D).” One of the key clinical findings from the study on the five patients found that TC-210 was generally well tolerated by the group.

A recent analysis published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology determined that peritoneal mesothelioma patients who underwent surgery had a far better survival rate compared to those who did not have surgical intervention to treat their cancer. The study analyzed the survival rates of over 2,000 patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma between 2003 and 2014 and found that for those who underwent “radical” surgery, the survival period was up to five times longer than those who did not.

Examining the data, the study found that about half of the patients did not undergo any kind of surgery to treat their peritoneal mesothelioma cancer, and had an average survival rate of about seven months after diagnosis. On the other hand, those who underwent radical surgery, about 34% of those looked at, had an average survival rate of just over three years. Another group, which underwent a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, had an average survival rate of just under three and a half years.

According to the study, prior to the turn of the century, the average life expectancy of a patient diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma was less than a year. The study recommends that doctors suggest surgery to their newly diagnosed patients who are able to undergo such procedures, in order to extend their lives.

A recently published study from the Netherlands appears to indicate that a combination of a pair of immunotherapy drugs can help improve the prognosis of mesothelioma patients with tumors that are not able to be removed through surgery. The experiment, named checkmate 743, compared the use of first-line nivolumab and ipilimumab versus platinum-based chemotherapy in a group of over 600 mesothelioma cancer patients, and showed significant tumor shrinkage for a large portion of the participants who were given the two-drug combination.

Conducted by The Netherlands Cancer Institute and The University of Leiden, in Amsterdam, the study showed a two year survival rate in 41% of the 303 participants given the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab, contrasted with a 27% survival rate of the 302 patients  undergoing platinum-based chemotherapy. For many decades, chemotherapy has been the standard of care for mesothelioma patients diagnosed with tumors that cannot be operated on or otherwise surgically removed.

“CheckMate 743 met its primary endpoint of statistically improved OS with nivolumab + ipilimumab vs standard of care chemotherapy in first-line treatment of patients with mesothelioma,” said Paul Baas, M.D., who presented the study’s findings at The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer conference. “These clinically meaningful data represent the first positive phase 3 trial of immunotherapy in first-line MPM and should be considered as a new standard of care.”

The world’s largest chemical company recently agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by plaintiffs who allege that the company lied about the presence of asbestos in its talc, which caused various types of cancer including mesothelioma. Per the terms of the settlement, German chemical company BASF will set aside $72.5 million for plaintiffs who filed asbestos cancer lawsuits against the company between March 1984 and March 2011, including those whose claims were dismissed or voluntarily withdrawn.

The settlement still awaits the approval of a New Jersey federal judge, and if approved, it would allow BASF to resolve claims covered by the agreed upon time period while not admitting any wrongdoing to the allegations made in the lawsuits. Specifically, the claims concerned Englehard Corp., which BASF acquired in 2006, which produced talc based products used in both industrial settings and consumer products.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, one plaintiff claimed that she developed cancer as a result of secondhand exposure to carcinogenic materials brought home on the clothes of her father, who was a research assistant who claimed that the defendants knew about contaminated talc for years. The case went through years of litigation, during which time the case was dismissed but later resurrected by a federal court that found that the defendants engaged in systemic fraud in order to derail the judicial process.

A New Jersey federal judge recently handed down an order indicating that the court will randomly select 1,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits to proceed as bellwether trials for the estimated 16,000 total of such cases currently pending before federal courts. The order comes just a few months after the same judge handed down an important ruling which allowed the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses to present evidence at trial showing that defendant Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products caused the victims’ cancers.

Per the judge’s order, the plaintiffs in the selected cases will have three months to order and produce medical records related to their cancer diagnoses. Further, the records produced must be served to the defendants within that same 90-day period.

The lawsuits accuse pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson of knowingly manufacturing and selling asbestos-contaminated talcum powder products to consumers without any warnings about the health effects of using the products. Such talcum powder products include Johnson & Johnson’s iconic Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. Until recently, Johnson & Johnson’s longtime talc supplier Imerys Talc USA was named to many of the lawsuits but the company has since filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A New York court recently denied a bid by a defendant in an asbestos cancer lawsuit to have the case thrown out and instead sided with the plaintiff, ruling that the issue of credibility to the plaintiff’s testimony is a question that should be left to a jury. In denying defendant Baltimore Aircoil Company Inc.’s motion for summary judgement, the court ruled that the company had not met the legal standards to show that its products could not have caused the plaintiff’s injury.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in New York County Supreme Court, the plaintiff worked as an air conditioning mechanic as an upperclassman in high school and subsequently continued working full time after graduating. In his deposition testimony, the plaintiff stated that he frequently worked on cooling towers manufactured by Baltimore Aircoil Company, specifically at the Squibb Building, the World Trade Center, and at Rockefeller University.

In his testimony, the plaintiff described the characteristics of the cooling towers he asserts were produced by Baltimore Aircoil Company. Those features include the shape of the cooling towers, ventilation louvers, and brackets. The plaintiff further described the asbestos containing gaskets that he would replace as a regular and frequent part of his maintenance duties while working on the cooling towers manufactured by Baltimore Aircoil Company. The plaintiff testified that while cleaning and scraping off the old gaskets, the process created visible dust that he inhaled.

A national industrial manufacturer recently set aside two newly created units of its business in order to fund an asbestos bankruptcy trust and relieve itself from the hundreds of mesothelioma cancer lawsuits it faces each and every year. As part of the liability restructuring, Trane Technologies Plc formed two subsidiaries, Aldrich Pump LLC and Murray Boiler LLC, back in May 2020 in order to transfer assets and liability to the new business entities and enjoin all asbestos cancer-related lawsuits against Trane Technologies.

After creating Aldrich Pump LLC and Murray Boiler LLC, Trane Technologies subsequently transferred tens of millions of dollars in cash and assets and recently had these entities file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina. The end game for the transfer of assets and liability is to ultimately establish an asbestos bankruptcy trust which plaintiffs with claims against Trane Technologies to file claims against.

According to Trane Technologies, the company resolves through trial or settlement an estimated 900 asbestos cancer lawsuits each year and spends nearly $100 million on litigation costs, which includes payouts for victims and the company’s out attorney’s fees. The strategy is a similar one enacted by other asbestos companies like Bestwall LLC and Kaiser Gypsum Company Inc. in order to shield the parent companies from asbestos cancer lawsuits brought by victims who claim they developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos in the defendant’s products.

A New York-based minerals and chemical company recently agreed to a settlement during jury deliberations in a Florida state court to resolve an industrial talc mesothelioma cancer lawsuit. While the settlement terms between Vanderbilt Minerals, Inc. and the plaintiffs was not disclosed, the plaintiffs’ mesothelioma cancer lawsuit had asked for $11.5 million in total compensation, making the settlement likely in the millions of dollars.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in Polk County court, the plaintiff worked for the Florida Tile Company during the 1970s, during which time he claims he used asbestos-laden products produced by Vanderbilt Minerals, Inc. The lawsuit claimed that Vanderbilt Minerals, Inc. knew about the risks of asbestos exposure from the talc it used in its products but provided no warning to workers about these risks.

The plaintiff alleged that Vanderbilt Mineral, Inc.’s talc came sourced from a mine that had been proven to contain asbestos and that the company manufactured and sold these products to Florida Tile Company during his tenure. Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that can be found in deposits side by side one another. If talc sourcing companies or those processing the mineral do not take precautions to test for asbestos contamination, innocent consumers may suffer from serious health conditions from exposure to the carcinogen.

A Missouri appeals court recently upheld an important talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by almost two dozen plaintiffs who claim their or their loved one’s disease was directly caused by years of using carcinogenic cosmetics products. In its decisions, the Missouri Court of Appeals disagreed with defendant Johnson & Johnson’s defense that its products were safe for use by consumers, and that its iconic Baby Powder has been asbestos-free for decades.

“This trial showed clear and convincing evidence that defendants engaged in conduct that was outrageous because of evil motive or reckless indifference,” the Missouri Court of Appeals wrote. “Motivated by profits, defendants disregarded the safety of consumers, despite the knowledge that talc in their products caused ovarian cancer.”

Johnson & Johnson had brought the appeal to contest a 2018 trial court verdict in which the jury handed down a then-record breaking $4.64 billion verdict on behalf of the 22 plaintiffs who claimed the company knowingly marketed a dangerous product. Johnson & Johnson, in its appeal, had asserted that the plaintiffs failed to present substantial enough evidence to show that the company acted with the level of negligence necessary to justify such a monumental verdict.

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