Monday, August 4, 2014

“The Greatest Escape” Motorcycle Rally for Meso - The Sequel

Sunday August 3 was the 2nd ever “Greatest Escape” Motorcycle Rally to raise funds for mesothelioma research conducted by the Pacific Meso Center. The Worthington & Caron law firm was proud to once again serve as the lead sponsor for this unique event. 

The rally is inspired by the classic movie, “The Great Escape” starring the “King of Cool” and mesothelioma victim Steve McQueen. While there has never been a sequel to “The Great Escape” (and hopefully never will be!), the sequel to the first-ever “Greatest Escape” Motorcycle Rally turned out to be even better than the original!!

  
Heading North on PCH

The build-up to the event was somewhat auspicious, as Los Angeles experienced an extremely rare August rainstorm (any rain in LA is rare these days—but especially in August!) which lasted overnight until about 30 minutes before start-time. But the weather didn’t keep away the dedicated and enthusiastic group of motorcyclists who turned out to support a very worthy cause and have a great ride up the coast in the process.

This year’s celebrity grand marshal was actor and motorcycle enthusiast (more accurately “fanatic”) Perry King. Perry gave an inspirational send-off speech thanking motorcyclists for being the most reliable segment of the general public when it comes to turning out to support a worthy cause. He then reminded everyone about the real reason we were all there—to raise funds for much-needed research into a cure for mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer which disproportionately affects U.S. service veterans as well as thousands of Americans from all walks of life every year.

After that, it was “kickstands up!!” With a full motorcycle escort, the likes of which is usually reserved for presidents and dignitaries, the “rolling thunder” of over 150 motorcycles of all shapes and sizes (except for Perry King’s silent, but ultra-cool, Zero E-Bike) roared through the usually clogged streets of Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu without stopping for a single traffic signal!

  
"Twisting" Through the Canyons

Riders were treated to ocean views along Pacific Coast Highway and then rugged canyon views as the ride turned up Kanan Dume road. After negotiating the hills, “twisties” and tunnels of Kanan Dume, the ride turned down Cornell road for a final approach into historic Paramount Ranch, nestled in the hills above Malibu. It was quite a sight as all the bikes wound their way through the dirt streets of the western town movie set before it was “kickstands down” around the party pavilion at the ranch.


  
 At the Ranch - John Caron (center) with Perry King (to his left) and Chuck Jarvis, Jr. (to his right)

The riders were joined by a healthy throng of supporters who drove their cars to the ranch to be part of the fun. Everyone who made the trip got to enjoy an outstanding barbeque lunch, cold beverages and the sounds of classic Johnny Cash songs provided by the “Walking Phoenixes” band who were accompanied by the “Phoenix Girls” dancers. Four proud bike owners were given awards for having the coolest bikes in their categories, as voted on by the other riders.

Attendees bid liberally on the outstanding auction and raffle items which were donated to the cause by generous supporters. The prizes included two African safaris, a Keith Urban guitar, artisanal glassworks and all sorts of motorcycle gear, with all of the proceeds going to mesothelioma research.

Grand marshal Perry King brought along his friend, motorcycling legend Dave Ekins who, along with his brother Bud Ekins, was largely responsible for the growth of motorcycle racing in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. Dave shared some little known facts about the motorcycling scenes in “The Great Escape” movie. Dave’s brother Bud did the stunt riding for Steve McQueen in the movie, including the famous scene where McQueen’s character attempts to jump the barbed-wire fence at the POW camp. DYK--it was Steve McQueen himself who added this scene to the movie as a condition for doing the movie.

Click here for to view the news story from local ABC affiliate KABC.

All in all “The Greatest Escape” Motorcycle Rally was an extremely fun event which raised much needed funds and public awareness for research into a cure for mesothelioma. Thanks to Clare Cameron and all her dedicated volunteers at the Pacific Meso Center for working so hard to make it a success. Worthington & Caron were proud to be a part of this sequel to “The Greatest Escape” and look forward to “playing a role” in many more in the future. 


  
John and Perry; John taking Perry’s E-bike for a Silent Spin

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Greatest Escape; 2nd Annual Motorcycle Ride to Benefit Victims of Mesothelioma

Proudly Presented by Worthington & Caron, P.C.

Join us and the Pacific Meso Center on a beautiful motorcycle ride along the California coast this Sunday, August 3.

After the ride, join us for a lunch, concert and additional fun at The Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, California. There will be celebrity riders including our Grand Marshall, Perry King!

Registration begins at: 8:30 AM and the Ride promptly begins at: 10:00 AM. The lunch will be provided by J Wolf Catering & Concert begins and the digging in begins at 12:30 PM

Be sure to stay and enjoy the music of The Walking Phoenixes-a Johnny Cash Tribute Band.

Click here for all the details.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

University of Pennsylvania's Mesothelioma Program Receives $8 Million Grant from NCI

The National Cancer Institute awarded an $8 million grant to the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine to study the effects of photodynamic light therapy (PDT) in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The grant  will fund a clinical trial and additional studies looking at the effects of PDT on the patient’s immune response, the mesothelioma tumor cell , and the blood vessels surrounding the tumor.

Dr. Eli Glatstein is the principal investigator of the program. He is also the professor and vice chair of Radiation Oncology, and member of Penn’s Mesothelioma and Pleural Program. According to Dr. Glatstein,  “This trial represents a major step in understanding the combination of treatment modalities that will offer patients the best hope for survival and extended remission.”

The study expects to enroll 102 patients over four years.  Patient will be administered Photofrin, a photosensitizing agent that makes cancer cells more sensitive to dying from light therapy, 24 hours prior to surgery.

The patients will then undergo a radical pleurectomy.  The patents will then be divided into two groups: half will receive PDT intraoperatively via an intense laser inserted in the chest cavity during the surgery, along with post-operative standard chemotherapy; and half who will receive only post-operative chemotherapy. Photofrin absorbs the light from the laser and produces an active form of oxygen that can destroy residual microscopic cancer cells left behind after surgery.

“PDT has been a part of our treatment regimen along with a lung-sparing surgery for many years, but a randomized clinical trial such as this remains necessary to prove its efficacy,” says Glatstein.

PDT is known to kill cancer cells, but researchers also seek to understand the patient’s immune response, the tumor microenvironment and the blood vessels in and surrounding the tumor in three additional studies funded under the grant.

“This trial will help us understand how PDT works in the body and what we may be able to do in the future to improve the body’s response to the therapy,” says Glatstein.

Click here for more.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Penn Medicine Receives $10 million Award to Study Asbestos Adverse Health Effects and Remediation of Asbestos

The BioRit Asbestos Superfund site is located in Ambler, Pennsylvania.  Ambler is 20 miles north of Philadelphia.

From the late 1880s through the present day, Ambler residents have had either occupational or environmental exposure to asbestos. As a result, both current and former residents of the area face potentially serious long-term health consequences.

The Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) is an organization whose mission is to effectively translate environmental health sciences research findings into practical health promotion, disease prevention information, tools and resources for our target audiences.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health, with the aid of the COEC, has determined that there has been an increase in the rate of mesothelioma in the Ambler area compared to the adjacent zip codes, with women having a greater risk than men.

Researchers at the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET), Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have been awarded a $10 million grant from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) over the next four years to study asbestos exposure pathways that lead to mesothelioma, the bioremediation of this hazardous material, and mechanisms that lead to asbestos-related diseases.

The Penn Superfund Research and Training Program (SRP) Center, which was established by this grant, evolved as a direct consequence of concerns from the Ambler community. The researchers are hopeful that continued investigation and education will yield more information about exposure pathways that led to these health risks. Click here for more.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dr. Robert Cameron Chairs International Panel of Medical Specialists at 4th Annual Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Dr. Robert Cameron
The Pacific Meso Center, in conjunction with The Office of Continuing Medical Education of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, held the 4th International Symposium on Lung-SparingTherapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma on June 7, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. The Worthington & Caron Law Firm was proud to once again be a platinum sponsor of this unique medical seminar focusing on rational treatment options for patients with pleural mesothelioma.

As in years past, the course organizer and chair of the symposium was thoracic surgeon and pleural mesothelioma specialist, Dr. Robert Cameron. An ardent supporter of rational lung-sparing treatments for pleural mesothelioma, and innovator of the pleurectomy/decortication (“PD”) surgical procedure, Dr. Cameron is the founder and director of both the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program at the UCLA Medical Center and the Mesothelioma Treatment Center of Excellence at the West Los Angeles Veterans’ Administration Medical Center.

Dr. Cameron discussed how, because of the diffuse nature of mesothelioma tumors, there is no advantage to removing the lung via extrapleural pneumonectomy (“EPP”), a radical surgery which involves removal of the pleura-based tumor along with the adjacent lung, diaphragm and portions of the pericardium. Dr. Cameron explained that, as compared to lung-sparing PD, “there are consequences to extending the surgical field with EPP.” Dr. Cameron pointed to statistics revealing a greater rate of “distant” tumor recurrence associated with EPP. He noted that “distant” recurrences in areas such as the peritoneum are more difficult to treat than “local” recurrences at or near the tumor bed.

In a second presentation, Dr. Cameron addressed the latest developments in intraoperative therapies to attack disease at a cellular level through chemicals such as Betadine, as well as chemotherapy, thermal therapies, light therapies and immune therapies.

Dr. Olga Olevsky
Dr. Olga Olevsky, Oncologist and member of the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program at UCLA, addressed the topic of when is the optimal time to administer Pemetrexed/Cisplatin or Pemetrexed/Carboplatin chemotherapy—before, during or after surgery. She presented the results of studies revealing that there is no statistical advantage to any of the three protocols, but posited that there may be advantages to adjuvant or postoperative administration of chemotherapy because it allows more aggressive initial treatment via surgery and allows for more accurate monitoring of response.

Dr. Percy Lee, Chief of Thoracic Radiation Oncology and member of the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program at UCLA Medical Center, gave an informative presentation on postoperative tomotherapy following PD. Dr. Lee explained how he and his team at UCLA work closely with Dr. Cameron to maximize effective delivery of radiation and minimize the risk of radiation toxicity utilizing the latest tomography technology.

A timely presentation regarding the challenges of treating veterans, who are disproportionally affected by mesothelioma, in the world’s largest healthcare system, and how the Mesothelioma Treatment Center of Excellence at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center has overcome these challenges was provided by Graciela Hoal, RN, NP.

Dr. Irene I-Lan Wu, Assistant Director of the UCLA Pain Management Center, gave a presentation regarding recent developments in postoperative pain management therapies including intrathecal drug delivery and spinal cord stimulators.

Dr. Cameron speaking with Dr. I-Lan Wu
and Dr. Lee (seated)
International presenters, Dr. Jan von MeerBeeck, Professor of Thoracic Oncology and Director of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and Dr. Joachim Aerts, Chief of Thoracic Oncology at Erasmus Cancer Institute in Rotterdam, Netherlands, gave presentations on recent studies involving state-of-the-art targeted therapies for advanced/inoperable mesothelioma and dendritic cell based immunotherapy.

Updates regarding research into innovative mesothelioma therapies involving mesenchymal stem cells and genes and molecular mechanisms being conducted at the Pacific Meso Center were provided by Research Scientists Raymond Wong, PhD and Irina Ianculescu, PhD.

Pacific Meso Center Executive
Director, Clare Cameron
Presentations regarding the global health risks of asbestos and the continuing need for meaningful bans were provided by Dr. Richard Lemen, Former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General, and Linda Reinstein, President and CEO of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.

Lastly, Pacific Meso Center Executive Director Clare Cameron gave a presentation about the role of non-profits in the fight against mesothelioma, and provided updates on the many resources available to mesothelioma sufferers through the Pacific Meso Center.

The Pacific Meso Center plans to release videos of the symposium presentations on its website in the coming weeks.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fresno Jury Finds Bendix Despicable, Awards $10.9 Million

Jimmy Phillips
San Pedro, CA, May 29, 2014 – The Worthington & Caron Law Firm is pleased to announce that a jury in Fresno,California has returned a substantial verdict in favor of our clients, the family of James ‘Jimmy’ Phillips, deceased, a 59 year-old plumber and race car enthusiast.

Defendant Honeywell, whose predecessor, Bendix, made asbestos-containing brake pads and linings, was the only defendant at trial. The jury awarded $7.4 million in compensatory damages and assigned 30% of fault to Bendix. The jury also found that Bendix acted with reckless indifference and awarded an additional $3.5 million in punitive damages. This was the first mesothelioma verdict ever awarded in Fresno.

The lawsuit was originally filed in May of 2012 in Alameda County, California. The defendants fought to transfer venue to Fresno, where they anticipated a more “defense-friendly” jury pool. The Fresno jury deliberated six days before rendering its verdict in favor of the Phillips family. The trial team of Stuart Purdy and Rob Green (attorneys with co-counsel Simon, Greenstone, Panatier, Bartlett) did an outstanding job putting on a strong case against a very tough defendant in a new jurisdiction.

According to Rob Green, "Jim was always the guy the family and community called on to help them out when something went wrong. It was an honor to help out Jim and his family. Our trial was straightforward. We explained what science, medicine and common sense told us, and what every reputable expert in the field agreed with, about this defendant’s asbestos products. The jury understood it and held them accountable.”

Jimmy was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in March of 2012. After nearly 11 months of treatment, Jimmy passed away from his asbestos-caused cancer.

Purdy and Green presented evidence that Jimmy was exposed to asbestos dust from automotive products while working on cars, race cars, trucks and heavy equipment beginning in the 1960s.

John Caron of Worthington & Caron notes, “How many men like Jim spent time as a teenager working part-time at a service station or doing shade tree work on their cars? This was a virtual rite of passage in our car-crazed nation in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, this little slice of Americana had deadly consequences for Jim and many others because of the asbestos that manufacturers like Bendix included in their products. We applaud the Fresno jury for holding Bendix accountable for its role in causing the nightmare the Phillips family has been living since Jim’s diagnosis.”

Charity and Jimmy Phillips

Jimmy leaves behind Charity, his wife 41 years, five children and fourteen grandchildren. The family has chosen to work through their loss by banding together to help others in their battle against cancer. On May 24, Kourtni McLaughlin, one of Jimmy’s daughters, organized the 1st Annual “Jimmy’s Golf Tournament” in Mariposa, California. The tournament was an incredible success. A small army of friends and family helped raise over $12,000, half of which was donated to support mesothelioma research at the Pacific Meso Center in Los Angeles, California. The other half will be distributed to local families battling cancer and towards a college scholarship at the local high school.


Worthington & Caron are proud to be Gold Sponsors of the 1st Annual Jimmy's Golf Tournament, and look forward to many more years of supporting this worthy fundraiser that honors an outstanding man.

Charity is extremely grateful and thankful to all of her attorneys. “I am so proud of Stu and Rob. They never backed down, for Jimmy. The entire legal team was so supportive, both with any legal issues as well as personal issues. Those boys fought long and hard for Jimmy. I consider them a part of my family now. I miss them!”

For more information, please contact john@worthingtoncaron.com, or 800-31-9399.  Worthington & Caron is located in San Pedro, California. You can also visit www.mesothel.com

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Worthington & Caron Proud to Again Sponsor the 4th Annual International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

On June 7 some of the leading physicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of pleural mesothelioma will meet at the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica, California for the 4th Annual International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. The symposium will be an all-day affair and begin at 8 am.

Worthington & Caron is proud to sponsor this symposium for the fourth consecutive year.

Once again, Dr. Robert B. Cameron will lead the symposium.  In addition to being the Director of the UCLA Mesothelioma Comprehensive Research Program, Dr. Cameron also is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and Scientific Advisor at the Pacific Meso Center.

Although the seminar is geared toward physicians, it also offers continuing medical education credit and the latest information on mesothelioma for medical students, nurses, mesothelioma patients and their families

The Symposium is co-hosted by UCLA and the Pacific Meso Center. Joining Dr. Cameron will be several physicians (both 'home-grown' and international colleagues) and mesothelioma advocates, including:

  • Olga Olevsky, MD, of UCLA Medical Center
  • Percy Lee, MD, Chief Thoracic Radiation Oncology at UCLA
  • Dr. Richard Lemen, Former Assistant Surgeon General of the United States
  • Irene I-Lan Wu, MD, UCLA Pain Management Center 
  • Joachim Aerts, MD, of Erasmus MC Cancer Institute in the Netherlands
  • Jan P. van Meerbeeck, MD of Antwerp University Hospital in Belgium,
  • Linda Reinstein, President/CEO and Co-Founder Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization,
The symposium will be divided into four sessions: Lung-Sparing Surgical Techniques, Lung-Sparing Adjuvant Therapies, Potential Future Adjuvant Therapies and Supportive Therapies.

To register for the symposium, click here.


For a copy of the brochure, click here.