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MARF Advocates For Creation Of Mesothelioma Research And Treatment Program Within The DOD And DVA


As I write this, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charity, is advocating on Capitol Hill for the creation of a Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Program within the Department of Defense and/or the Department of Veterans Affairs. We are presently drafting language for possible inclusion in the legislation now being proposed by Senator Nickles and Senator Murray. MARF is advocating for an allocation of over $100 million over the next five years, the funds to be allocated either directly from Congress to the DOD/DVA or to be paid out of a possible compensation trust fund, which will be financed by a pool of insurance companies and insured with asbestos personal injury/wrongful death liability.

If you would like a copy, please contact Chris Hahn, Executive Director of MARF, at


Roger Worthington
April 9, 2003

Also, please read: U.S. Stands Aside on Asbestos: Government Won't Pay Into Proposed Fund, Despite Navy Cases (11/12/03)

Board of Directors

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

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

Brian Loggie, M.D.
Creighton University Medical Center

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

In Memoriam
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.
University of New Mexico

Eric Vallieres, M.D.
University of Washington

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.
M.D. Anderson/University of Texas

Executive Director

Christopher E. Hahn
Santa Barbara, California

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

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

April 4, 2003

City, State Zip

Re: Time for U.S. to Serve Veterans with War-Related Cancer


Ignored for decades, the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma now makes headlines. Destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11 released tons of asbestos into New York City's air and raised concerns that rescue workers and residents may develop the cancer. CNN and major newspaper accounts detail the terrible suffering of mesothelioma patients. Editorials urge limits on lawsuits by asbestos claimants who are not sick, in order to avoid further bankruptcies and preserve some compensation for terminally ill asbestos victims.

Despite the recent glare of publicity, the Federal Government's responsibility for this tragedy remains unaddressed. Of the 2,500 to 3,000 patients diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the United States, about 33% served in the U.S. Navy, Merchant Marines or as civilians in Navy shipyards - most notably, retired Chief Naval Officer Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr. Sovereign immunity bars asbestos-related suits against the United States, but not a concerted government effort to treat and cure mesothelioma. To date, federal funding for mesothelioma treatment has been virtually non-existent.

"The Asbestos Claims Criteria and Compensation Act," S. 413, recently introduced by Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK), seeks to prevent further bankruptcies by asbestos defendants and thus preserve compensation funds for seriously ill asbestos plaintiffs by limiting lawsuits by claimants who are not sick. However, the bill does not contain any provision, which would help fix the ultimate problem by funding mesothelioma treatment and cure research. The first priority of anyone with mesothelioma is life, not compensation. Sen. Nickles' bill does not go far enough.

"The Ban Asbestos Act in America" also recently introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), still lacks a Republican co-sponsor. Sen. Murray's Bill does provide federal funding for mesothelioma research and treatment. We would like to see the two bills merged.

I know I have written to you before about MARF and its mission. I am very proud that the majority of the funds used to sustain MARF and fund its research grants have come directly from mesothelioma patients, their family and friends. I do not for a second take such generosity for granted.

Now, I'd like to again ask that you help MARF's mission, this time by contacting your U.S. Senator and Congressman regarding the long overdue need for the U.S. Government to establish a mesothelioma treatment program within the Department of Defense or Department of Veterans Affairs. Any breakthroughs such a medical program may generate would obviously be of immeasurable value to mesothelioma patients throughout the world. I also encourage you to write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. The attached materials should supply you with plenty of ammunition for a well-reasoned "op-ed" column. If you need any help, please ask.

Please take the time to digest, ponder and talk about the attached materials - but then, please act. Especially during this time of war, when so much focus is rightly placed on protecting our troops who are in harm's way, the time is right for America to look back and remember our debts to those veterans who proudly served when asbestos use was rampant and unchecked. Now is the time for the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense to respond by funding the research to find a treatment that will either thwart or eradicate this long-neglected, service-connected cancer.

Yours very truly,

Roger G. Worthington
Founding Director