International conference focuses on mesothelioma
The University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine will host the eighth conference of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) from Thurs., Oct. 19, through Sun., Oct. 22, 2006, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, 301 E. North Water Street in Chicago.
A related conference, organized by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and designed to educate patients about the disease, will take place at the same hotel on Fri. and Sat., Oct. 20-21.
With more than 150 research presentations, the IMIG conference will be the largest scientific gathering on mesothelioma ever held. The IMIG meets every two years and has not met in the United States since 1997.
The Chicago conference--co-chaired by University of Chicago cancer specialists Hedy Kindler, M.D., associate professor of medicine, and Samuel Armato, M.D., associate professor of radiology--brings together the leading experts from five continents to discuss all aspects of the disease, including epidemiology, pathogenesis, biomarkers, genetics, animal models, risk assessment, diagnosis, imaging, multimodality therapy, and novel treatments.
This year's conference will include a new session focused on the increased risk of pleural mesothelioma for people exposed to airborne debris from the collapse of the World Trade Center.
Mesothelioma is a rare and lethal form of cancer that occurs in the mesothelium, a thin layer of specialized cells that lines the lungs and the abdominal cavity. In the United States there are fewer than 2,500 new cases a year. Most cases are caused by asbestos exposure. The disease often appears decades after exposure.
"The number of asbestos-related cases in the United States has recently leveled off," said Kindler, "but the disease is still on the increase in Western Europe and is growing dramatically in Japan."
Because the disease is often advanced at the time of diagnosis, average survival for those with pleural mesothelioma--affecting the tissue that line the lungs--is only about one year.
Anyone with this disease should be in a clinical trial, suggests Kindler, who heads one of the largest mesothelioma clinics in the U.S. "Although we have made substantial progress in understanding this disease," she said, "progress in treating it up to now been limited. But as we learn more, we develop new treatment options and we now have drugs that make a difference."
The full conference schedule is available at: http://imig.uchicago.edu/index/html
Media are welcome to attend. For more information, contact John Easton
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