Worthington donates $250,000 to mesothelioma research
San Pedro, CA - Aug. 15, 2007 - "It is sharing that keeps the engine
of humanity working, and shines a light on the issues that really should
be out there for open, and unapologetic discourse." June Breit, mesothelioma
patient, warrior, and survivor.
David "Punch" Worthington, Ph.D, went down swinging. Larger than
life, he was an outdoorsman, a boxer, a geneticist, a union organizer,
and a father. He left an enduring sense of social justice as a legacy
for his friends, his sons, and the research lab that bears his name.
On the first anniversary of Punch's death, son Roger has donated $250,000
to the Pacific Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's research lab named
after Punch. "Punch had an extraordinary love of life and a profound
respect for people. He thought that the best way to counter injustice
was to stand up and fight it," Worthington said. "He was also
a scientist and he'd be proud of our work in both preventing and treating
Terry Lynch, political and legislative director for the Asbestos Workers
Union, offered this fitting tribute:
"Reflecting on the one year anniversary of the passing of our dear
friend, it is a tremendous source of pride for me to be associated with
the Pacific Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on behalf of the Asbestos
Workers Union. It is very appropriate that the centerpiece of PHLBI is
named in honor of Punch. The David 'Punch' Worthington Research
Laboratory is located at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Punch was truly a great American who fought the good fight on many fronts,
including his brave battle with lung cancer. While Punch continues to
be missed, he will always be a tremendous inspiration to all of those
who knew and loved him."
Punch died on August 25, 2006, from asbestos cancer. His estate donated
$90,000 to the Pacific Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to further prevention,
treatment, and cure for abestos disease. With his gift in Punch's
memory, Roger Worthington will have given over $750,000 to the Institute.
Worthington will present a check to PHLBI on Monday, August 27, at an informal
noon ceremony on the lawn outside Cafe Med at UCLA Medical Center. All
are welcome to attend.
Mesothelioma Induction: Molecular pathways in carcinogenesis. The long
latency period between asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma
provides an opportunity to study the molecular pathways in the pathogenesis
of asbestos-related cancer. Studying the developmental biology of these
tumors in exposed animals and in established tumor lines will allow targeted
therapies to be devised to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy enhances the body's natural defense system.
Other cancer treatments already utilize immunotherapy. Data and experience
suggest that mesothelioma may be treated by manipulating the immune system.
One promising treatment option is the immunotoxin interleukin-4 or IL-4.
PHLBI currently has 8 projects related to immunotherapy. The first phase
of hyperthermia treatment is already underway, and the overall project
Interferon Alpha: An immediate goal for mesothelioma treaters is controlling
the disease with chronic suppressive therapy. A prime molecule for this
type of approach has been identified as interferon alpha. A small selection
of patients currently undergoing weekly injections of interferon alpha
is doing well. Some are in their second year of treatment.
Disease Prevention: Anti-inflammatory agents like Celebrex are available
for prevention of colon cancer in high risk individuals and for treatment
of rheumatoid arthritis. PHLBI's research also focuses on preventing
further blood vessel formation to stop tumor growth.