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Putting Out the Fire: Working Toward a Strategy to Kill Mesothelioma if it Recurs


Putting Out the Fire: Working Toward a Strategy to Kill Mesothelioma if it Recurs


Mesothelioma can be like a campfire that won’t go out.

Even with the best surgical technique, chemotherapy and radiation, every doctor worth his or her salt will tell you that none of these therapies – alone or combined – will always put out the fire completely.

You can pour water on it, stomp on it and try to smother it, but no matter how diligent you are, the odds are if you dig deep and look hard enough you’ll find a glowing ember. Over time, that ember can eventually catch fire and spark a wildfire.

The word for that is “recurrence.” As in, we’ll slash, poison or burn as much tumor as we can see, but after it’s all said and done there will still be micro-tumors seeding in your chest, which can eventually grow into a bigger tumor.

That’s not comforting. What is comforting is knowing that smart people are working on strategies to knock down recurring tumors before they can spark a wildfire.

I’m pleased to continue supporting this important research initiative with another $100,000 donation to the Pacific Mesothelioma Center. The scientists and doctors at PMC have developed a novel way of treating mesothelioma recurrences with cryoablation. The strategy involves delivery of compressed argon gas through a needle which freezes and kills the tumor cells on contact. The treatment is minimally invasive and can be done on an outpatient basis.

Cryoablation is currently being used to treat mesothelioma recurrences at the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Centers at both UCLA Medical Center and the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center.

PMC is researching ways to enhance the effectiveness of cryoablation by combining it with cancer vaccines.

At Worthington & Caron, we see every day the stress endured by mesothelioma patients. Not only do they have to worry about finding the right doctors to treat their cancer, they also have to contend with the probability that even if all goes well, they’ll still need to deal with a recurrence.

Mesothelioma patients are fortunate to have access to the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Centers at UCLA and the West Los Angeles VA. Doctors at each venue are uniquely qualified to both put out the fire, and knock it down again if it flares up down the road.