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Asbestos Trial Lawyers Urged To Advocate For Meso Clients By Contributing To Research


In July of 2001, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) sent the letter below, signed by this country's leading experts in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, to over 700 asbestos trial lawyers. MARF is urging attorneys to expand their role as an advocate by helping MARF meet its mission to eradicate mesothelioma as a life-ending disease. The letter reminds us of Congressman Bruce Vento's plea for cooperation in the mission to eradicate mesothelioma, describes MARF's progress to date, and encourages the trial bar to donate commensurate with its wealth, knowledge and compassion. Please read the letter and if you are represented by counsel, please urge your advocate to donate generously.

To date (8/8/2001), only nine law firms have made contributions (with this law firm donating over $353,000 to date and pledging another $147,000). Please click here to view a list of sponsors to MARF.

Lawyer Support Wanting

As of October 1, 2001, of the over 700 letters that were mailed to asbestos trial lawyers in July, only a handful of lawyers have responded with donations. MARF reported at its monthly board of directors meeting today that there have been only two new lawyers who have made donations -- a lawyer from South Carolina who generously donated $25,000 and another lawyer in Dallas who gave approximately $500. To the two lawyers who stepped up, a sincere thanks! But we can do much better.

Board of Directors

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

Nicholas J. Vogelzang, M.D.
University of Chicago

Brian Loggie, M.D.
University of Texas SW Medical

Robert Ginsberg, M.D.
Memorial Sloan Kettering

Michael Harbut, M.D.
Wayne State University

Roger G. Worthington, Esq.
Dallas, Texas

Robert I. Komitor, Esq.
New York, New York

Susan Vento
St. Paul, Minnesota

In Memorium
Congressman Bruce F. Vento
Bill Powell

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.
M.D. Anderson/Univ. of Texas

Eric Vallieres, M.D.
University of Washington

Dan Miller, M.D.
Mayo Clinic

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

Hedy Lee Kindler, M.D.
University of Chicago

W.Roy Smythe, M.D.
M.D. Anderson/Univ. of Texas

Executive Director

Christopher E. Hahn
Santa Barbara, CA

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

Marf logo

Our Mission is to eradicate mesothelioma as a life-ending disease.

July 16, 2001

Nick Abaza, Esq.
Hissey, Keintz & Harron P.L.L.C
16800 Imperial Valley Drive, Ste 130
Houston, TX 77060

Dear Mr. Abaza:

After he was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year, Congressman Bruce Vento made a public plea for all groups involved with asbestos to unite in the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation's mission of eradicating the disease. To asbestos lawyers he said, "I ask you to expand your role as advocates. You have done good work in advocacy for your clients, but every mesothelioma patient's first priority is life. He or she wants to live. You have the resources, wisdom and compassion. Please help commensurate with your wealth and knowledge."

As members of MARF's Board of Directors and Science Advisory Board, we write to ask you to answer Congressman Vento's call and join us now in support of MARF's life-saving work. We have vision and energy, and we are becoming a powerful force in raising awareness, raising research funding, and finding a cure for the disease.

Through its first two research grants of $100,000 each, MARF is already funding two excellent projects. One is at the University of Chicago, studying the anti-angiogenesis drug, SU5416, which specifically targets a growth factor present at higher levels in mesothelioma than any other solid tumor. The other, at Fox Chase Cancer Center, is narrowing in on a tumor suppressor gene frequently deleted in mesothelioma, and could yield powerful gene therapies.

For our second round of grants, which will be awarded July 31, we have ten applications from major cancer research centers for interesting, novel projects. This demonstrates that MARF is accomplishing its goal of drawing top-flight researchers to mesothelioma. We will fund two of these projects this round, at $100,000 each. As our own funding grows, we will be able to speed the search for a cure by making more and larger research grants.

We are also hard at work on two exciting new ideas. First, we are forming a Family Advocacy Board. MARF will provide the leadership and financial and administrative support to create a platform for the people hurt the most by this disease - the mesothelioma patients and family members themselves - to organize, be empowered and make a difference. The goal is literally that some day the patients and their families will take the reigns of MARF.

We are also working on a collaborative project among all the MARF researchers. As this project develops, it will be expandable to others, and will also qualify the participating researchers as a "group," eligible for NIH funding for additional mesothelioma research projects. Again, this furthers our goal of drawing additional research dollars to mesothelioma.

Finally, we are privileged to announce that Susan Vento has joined our Board of Directors. Mrs. Vento will help us draw political attention to the disease and the need for research funding. Also, her talent and years of experience as a union organizer (school teachers) will be of great help in organizing and motivating the Family Advocacy Board.

All of these developments show how serious MARF is in its mission to eradicate mesothelioma, and the tremendous momentum we have generated. We are on the verge of the critical mass which will establish us as a long-term, powerful organization. Your firm can help MARF accomplish its mission - the eradication of mesothelioma as a life-ending disease - by joining MARF now as a sponsoring Member. Your colleagues from nine major firms have already become Members (they are listed on the MARF website). We ask you to answer Congressman Vento's call, and join them in MARF's life-saving mission.

We appreciate your time and generosity, and would be happy to speak to you further about MARF. If you would like additional information, please contact any one of us or MARF's Executive Director, Chris Hahn (805.560.8942,, or visit the MARF website.


Raphael Bueno, M.D.Robert B. Cameron, M.D.Robert Ginsberg, M.D.
Steve Hahn, M.D.Michael Harbut, M.D.Hedy Lee Kindler, M.D.
Brian Loggie, M.D.Dan Miller, M.D.Harvey Pass, M.D.
Lary A. Robinson, M.D.Victor Roggli, M.D.W. Roy Smythe, M.D.
Joseph R. TestaEric Vallieres, M.D.Susan Vento
Claire Verschraegen, M.D.Nicholas J. Vogelzang, M.D.