Skip to Content
Worthington & Caron, PC Worthington & Caron, PC
Get Empowered! 800-831-9399

MARF Letter


Board Of Directors

Robert B. Cameron, M.D.
UCLA Medical School

Nicholas J. Vogelzang, M.D.
Nevada Cancer Institute

M. Ann Abbe
Arlington, Texas

Michael Harbut, M.D., M.P.H.
Royal Oak, Michigan

Roger G. Worthington, Esq.
Dallas, Texas

Mathew Bergman, Esq.
Seattle, Washington

Susan Vento
St. Paul, Minnesota

Mouzetta Zumwalt-Weathers
Cary, North Carolina

Ulf Jungnelius, M.D.
Pfizer, Inc.

In Memoriam
Congressman Bruce F. Vento

Science Advisory Board

Harvey Pass, M.D., Chairman
Karmanos Cancer Institute

Victor Roggli, M.D.
Duke University

Robert N. Taub, M.D.
Columbia University

Lary A. Robinson, M.D.
H. Lee Moffit Cancer Center

Steve Hahn, M.D.
University of Pennsylvania

Joseph R. Testa, Ph.D.
Fox Chase Cancer Center

Claire Verschraegen, M.D.
University of New Mexico

Eric Vallieres, M.D.
Swedish Cancer Institute

Dan Miller, M.D.
Emory University

Raphael Bueno, M.D.
Harvard/Brigham and Women's

Hedy Lee Kindler, M.D.
University of Chicago

W. Roy Smythe, M.D.
Texas A&M

Executive Director
Christopher E. Hahn

1609 Garden Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
tel (805) 560-8942
fax (805) 560-8962

September 14, 2004

To: Asbestos Victims Bankruptcy Creditors' Committee Attorneys


Allocation of Chapter 11 Asbestos Trust Fund to Medical Research for Detection, Prevention, Treatment and Cure


In the next few years, the bankruptcy courts will approve the reorganization plans for several major asbestos debtors. The projected combined value for only 11 of the pending 30 asbestos debtors' trusts will hover around $19 billion (see attached chart). The former asbestos companies will in essence walk away cleansed of their civil tort liabilities. But their toxic legacy will continue to fester in the lungs of millions of Americans and in the walls and ceilings of millions of schools, buildings, and homes.

The asbestos debtors must be held accountable not only for compensating their victims but also for ameliorating the latter's suffering and preventing future victims.

To date, there has never been a concerted effort to fund a serious campaign to prevent, detect, treat or cure asbestos cancer. Mesothelioma is truly an orphan disease. From 2000 to 2003, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invested about $2 million per year in applied and basic research on mesothelioma. In the same period, the NIH spent about $67 million per year on cervical cancer research, a cancer responsible for 4,100 deaths per year. In the same period, the NIH poured in over $244 million per year on AIDS research and because of that activism a disease once considered invariably fatal in 1985 is now eminently treatable. Although 32% of the roughly 3,000 (or more) Americans diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos while serving in the U.S. Navy or working in Navy shipyards, neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of Veterans Affairs have a medical research and treatment program for victims of this "war-related" disease.

Mesothelioma was first discussed in the medical literature in the 1940's and its incidence will peak in the next 10 years or so. Since the 1960's, asbestos litigation has consumed billions of dollars, over half of which have been absorbed by transaction costs. Despite the money spent and the lives lost, next to nothing has been invested in preventing or curing asbestos cancer. Consequently, the prognosis for mesothelioma patients today remains unacceptably grim. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is, however, optimistic that we can reverse the institutional apathy and medical nihilism, with your help.

We recently wrote a letter to Mr. Elihu Inselbuch requesting an opportunity to appear before the various creditors' committees to advance our case that a fraction of the asbestos debtors? settlement funds should be allocated to medical research (see letter of August 27, 2004 attached). Mr. Inselbuch advised that in order to discuss the proposal it would need to be raised by one of his "clients" (see letter of August 31, 2004 attached). Each of you belongs to law firms which have lawyers who serve on one or more of the ongoing Chapter 11 reorganizations. Each of you has the power to champion this long overdue remedy.

MARF would like the opportunity to visit with each of you about the merits of our proposal. MARF is conducting a three-day medical symposium October 14-16, 2004 in Las Vegas . We would like to arrange a meeting during the symposium at which MARF's doctors and scientists can outline for you our plan for accelerating breakthroughs in the detection, prevention, treatment and cure of mesothelioma. If you cannot attend, we can arrange a conference call.

Please advise whether you (or a partner) can be personally or telephonically available. On Friday night (October 15), Senator Harry Reid will deliver the keynote address. We can try to arrange a meeting prior to Senator Reid's speech from 4 to 5 P.M. Chris Hahn and I would like to discuss this with you. I can be reached at (949) 496-5918. Chris Hahn can be reached at (805) 560-8942.

We look forward to your support and leadership. We acknowledge that we are asking you to venture into uncharted waters. But who better to advocate a benevolent change to the status quo than the very lawyers who know first-hand that a cancer claimant's first priority is more life? You have the power to help eradicate this terrible disease.

I am enclosing for your review MARF's proposal to the National Gypsum Asbestos Victims Trust, which explains in detail MARF's efforts to fund medical research, our targeted grant solicitation and peer-review mechanisms, and MARF's enthusiastic roadmap for medical relief for present and future mesothelioma victims.


Roger G. Worthington
Founding Director


Distribution List:

Peter Angelos, Esq.
Steve Baron, Esq.
Matthew Bergman, Esq.
Bryan O. Blevins, Esq.
Al Brayton, Esq.
Russell Budd, Esq.
John Cooney, Esq.
James Early, Esq.
Theodore Goldberg, Esq.
Steve Kazan, Esq.
Michael Kelly, Esq.
Bob Komitor, Esq.
Peter Kraus, Esq.
Joseph F. Rice, Esq.
Perry Weitz, Esq.

cc: Elihu Inselbuch, Esq.