CONDITIONS A-Z

Malignant Mesothelioma

  

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Malignant Mesothelioma Disorder: Litigation & New Treatment Options

Asbestosis comprise of a broad spectrum of entities related to the lung tissue scarring caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. The inhalation of these fibers may lead to a number of lung disorders, including malignant mesothelioma, pleural plaques, lung cancer and benign pleural effusion.

Any of these conditions can develop at least two decades after being exposed to asbestos. The common symptoms include shortness of breath which worsens progressively over time. Patients experiencing asbestos-related disorder may also experience a dry cough. For mesothelioma, the lag time between the disease and initial exposure can be 30 years or more.

2,000 – 3,000 patients are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the U.S. every year. 70 to 80 percent of these cases are associated with asbestos exposure, according to key statistics. The statistical data reported by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further reveals that a total of 18,083 individuals died from malignant mesothelioma from the year 1999 to 2005.

Asbestos litigation

While the claims against product manufacturers that formerly used asbestos material continue declining, many peripheral defendants are gaining traction. The legal litigation landscape pertaining to asbestos exposure is no longer limited to basic lung diseases; instead, chronic malignancies are gaining attention. Also, asbestos-related lung disorders filed on behalf of victims by loved ones are beginning to occupy the courts.

Companies have set aside over $30 billion in trust funds for asbestos victims and families. Laws at the national level also give rights to victims to seek compensation; however, there is an array of complicated procedures that the victims typically cannot handle themselves. Legal action is becoming imperative, but victims are still hesitating to speak up because of the fees associated with these cases.

The mesothelioma lawyers, Baron and Budd, point out asbestos lawsuits can be filed using a contingency fee arrangement. The contingency fee is the percentage of the total financial amount decided in the case settlement; if successful, the victim’s representative firm is compensation if and when the legal action is successful for the victim. It means the plaintiff doesn’t pay any upfront cost and no payment is issued if the legal body is unsuccessful with the case. Such firms are continuing the fight for asbestos victims.

New treatment options

There is no absolute treatment for asbestos-related disorders, but advances toward the goal is helping patients to live healthier lives, giving hope where once it was none. More researchers are working with believe that prolonging patient lives is not an unrealistic goal anymore.

Patients suffering from mesothelioma carry a molecule known as microRNA. It’s four times more prevalent in mesothelioma victims than in those without the condition, according to research scientists from ADRI (Asbestos Diseases Research Institute) in Sydney, Australia. If specialists could utilize a diagnostic market based on a blood test to help with diagnosis, it could avoid the tumor tissue. For victims, this could translate into treatment at an earlier stage.

Another promising treatment – and the purported future for mesothelioma cure – is immunotherapy. It involves the immune system targeting and destroying cancer cells without bothering unaffected cells. In normal functioning, the immune system only destroys cells that are detected as ‘foreign’.

Because the body produces cancer cells, they are ignored by the immune system. Protein molecules that can classify cancer cells are foreign are being discovered, allowing the immune system to destroy them.

The goal of all these initiatives is quality of life extension and ultimately, better cures.

 

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