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Worthington Supports Innovative Stem Cell Therapy Initiative for Mesothelioma. Donates $100,000 to Pacific Meso Center

12-20-2013

Roger Worthington of Worthington & Caron, PC announced today he is donating $100,000 to the Pacific Meso Center (PMC) in Los Angeles, California to help continue their research on the use of modified stem cells to treat patients stricken with malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos.

“I continue to be amazed by the cutting edge and brilliant research being done by the PMC,” said Mr. Worthington, who has been representing asbestos cancer patients for 25 years.

“With the encouragement of Scientific Advisor, Dr. Robert Cameron, the PMC has been working on an exciting project that is exploring the potential for treating meso patients with modified stem cells from discarded placentas. It’s tougher than ever these days for scientists to fund research on rare diseases and I’m pleased to help.”

In a nutshell, PMC’s “mesenchymal stem cell program” works like this. Stems cells are harvested from discarded placentas, modified with immunological agents, and put into a “spheroid” model to test how changes to the tumor environment in the chest can ally with the body’s natural defenses to destroy tumor cells after surgery.

“The goal is to inject the modified stem cells, which the body doesn't readily reject, into the chest cavity after surgery, “explained Dr. Cameron, a world renown thoracic surgeon at UCLA Medical School. “If the therapy ‘takes,’ then the body can destroy the mesothelioma cells that remain in the chest after a successful surgery, and the patient can avoid chemotherapy and radiation. “

Currently, even with the best surgical technique, after surgery the chest cavity is blanketed with microscopic tumor cells. As a result, the question is not so much whether the tumor will recur, but when. To prolong the date of recurrence, patients are forced to endure often-debilitating radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Over the past 12 years, Worthington has supported a number of treatment- related projects, including immunotherapy, interferon alpha maintenance therapy, cryoablation and Interleukin (IL-4) immunotoxin therapy.

“The goal has always been to give mesothelioma patients more treatment options,” said Worthington. “But the reality is to truly take a whack at mesothelioma, it’s going to take a lot more public and private funding. I hope my donation can encourage other lawyers, as well as everyone involved with this disease, to give back as well.”

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