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Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Malignant Mesothelioma ONCONASE (ranpirnase) Trial Goal Reached

Alfacell Achieves Full Patient Enrollment Milestone for the ONCONASE Phase IIIb Registration Study in Unresectable Malignant Mesothelioma

BLOOMFIELD, N.J., Feb. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alfacell Corporation (Nasdaq: ACEL - News) today announced that the full enrollment target of 316 patients has been reached for the international, confirmatory Phase IIIb registration trial evaluating ONCONASE® (ranpirnase), the Company's lead investigational drug candidate, as a treatment for unresectable malignant mesothelioma (UMM).

The Company has developed and managed one of the largest UMM clinical programs ever undertaken. Over 600 UMM patients have been enrolled in the ONCONASE UMM study, including newly-diagnosed and refractory patients treated with ONCONASE as a single agent and in combination with doxorubicin.

"We are pleased to have achieved this important milestone ahead of schedule, and look forward to completion of all other regulatory requirements for the marketing approval of ONCONASE in the U.S., E.U. and other markets," stated Kuslima Shogen, Chief Executive Officer of Alfacell.

About the ONCONASE Phase IIIb Registration Study

ONCONASE is being evaluated at over 40 investigator sites across 10 countries in a centrally-randomized, open-label Phase IIIb trial as a treatment for UMM, an asbestos-related cancer that afflicts approximately 10,000 people worldwide -- including 4,000 in the U.S. -- each year. The study is being conducted to determine whether survival is prolonged in UMM patients treated with ONCONASE in combination with doxorubicin compared to doxorubicin alone. The estimated global UMM market is $300 million.

About ONCONASE

ONCONASE is a first-in-class therapeutic from Alfacell's proprietary ribonuclease (RNase) technology platform. ONCONASE has been shown to target tumor cells while sparing normal cells. ONCONASE is internalized by endocytosis and released into the cytosol of the cancerous cell, where it selectively degrades tRNA beyond repair. In doing so, ONCONASE inhibits protein synthesis, stops cell cycle proliferation, and induces apoptosis (programmed cell death).

ONCONASE has previously been granted Orphan Drug designation from EMEA and TGA (Australia), as well as Fast Track status by the FDA. The latter has enabled the Company to complete and submit sections of the New Drug Application (NDA) on an accelerated, rolling basis.

In addition to the Phase IIIb UMM registration trial, the Company is conducting an ONCONASE Phase I / II trial in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). The NSCLC market is expected to exceed $4 billion by 2012.

Also, pre-clinical studies examining ONCONASE conjugates as potential treatments for gliomas and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) are being conducted at Johns Hopkins University and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), respectively.Lung Cancer Search


Sunday, March 26, 2006

 

Early Detection Tests For Conditions Leading to Mesothelioma Sought

New Tests in Development For Early Detection of Conditions Leading to Mesothelioma
 
High blood levels of a protein called osteopontin are linked to the development of pleural mesothelioma 
 
The key to curing any disease is early detection and progress has been made for an early-detection test that could improve survival for people with a deadly cancer linked to asbestos exposure.
 
High blood levels of a protein called osteopontin are linked to the development of pleural mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer that invades the chest cavity and the lining of the lungs.
 
In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Harvey Pass, professor of surgery at New York University School of Medicine said, "The earlier you detect it, the better the chance that you can do therapy that impacts survival,"
 
Mesothelioma Screening Still Eludes
There is currently no way to screen for mesothelioma, a potential hazard for the 7.5 million American workers with a history of workplace exposure to asbestos. Those people include foundry workers, miners, shipbuilders and an estimated 1.5 million maintenance and construction workers. The challenge is to single out those who will develop the cancer from those with other asbestos-related lung conditions.
Although the work is preliminary, osteopontin levels may point to heightened mesothelioma risk, Pass said. The findings are based on a study of 190 people -- 69 with noncancerous asbestos-related disease, 76 with mesothelioma and 45 smokers with no exposure to asbestos.
 
Blood tests showed that the levels of osteopontin rose along with years of asbestos exposure -- the lowest levels were in people exposed to asbestos for less than 10 years, while levels doubled for people with more than 10 years of exposure and increased steadily with asbestos-caused damage to the lungs.
 
Blood concentrations of osteopontin were six times normal levels in people with mesothelioma, even during the early stages of the disease, the researchers found.
 
A blood marker that helped doctors catch the disease early could offer patients real hope, Pass said. "If you find that this marker of risk is high, you can take action, starting with CT scanning to detect the disease early," he noted.
 
Osteopontin Test May be Flawed
But that optimism was not echoed by Dr. Mark R. Cullen, a professor of medicine and public health at Yale University, who wrote an accompanying editorial. Longer survival through early detection has been shown in breast cancer, colon cancer and some other malignancies, Cullen said, but the evidence for it in mesothelioma is weak. It is possible that detecting an inevitably fatal cancer early gives the illusion of longer survival, since the time after diagnosis is longer than if the tumor is detected closer to death, he noted.
 
And the osteopontin test has a major weakness, Cullen said. It lacks specificity, which means it also detects other, less fatal conditions, putting those patients through testing that might be unnecessary.
 
Nevertheless, he said, "I strongly encourage this kind of research in the hope that many good things might come of it -- an early blood test, a very good diagnostic test, and hopefully over the next few years a breakthrough in treatment."
 
Pass is continuing his work, which is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In fact, his NYU facility has been designated a "biomarker laboratory" by the NCI, he said.
 
Pass and his colleagues will soon start screening banked blood samples from mesothelioma patients. That and future studies will aim at determining the exact levels of osteopontin that could be used in a screening test.
 
"If we find the same relationship with banked serum [blood] -- something that should take two years -- and if the marker holds up, then we can proceed to a prospective trial to see if it finds mesothelioma early," he said.
 
About 2,500 cases of mesothelioma are reported in the United States each year, Pass said, although he believes the cancer might be underdiagnosed because there is no official registry for it. Only 5 percent of cases are detected early, Pass said. The life expectancy for those diagnosed late is just nine to 12 months.
 
However, detected early, mesothelioma "does respond to therapy," he said. Treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery.
 
source: Ed Edelson, HealthDay
 
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Friday, March 24, 2006

 

US Tort Liability System Causes Lawyer to Sue Himself

U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform Statement on Cost of the U.S. Tort Liability System

WASHINGTON, March 13 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, issued the following statement regarding Tillinghast Towers-Perrin's recent report on the cost of the U.S. tort system:

"Over the past year, we saw a federal judge uncover possible fraud in more than 10,000 silicosis lawsuits ... we saw a string of prosecutions due to massive fraud involved in the Fen-Phen litigation craze ... we saw state attorneys general deputize countless private plaintiffs' attorneys to target American employers ... and we saw an Illinois plaintiffs' attorney so awash in lawsuits that he actually sued himself by accident.

"Is it any surprise that the cost of our bloated tort liability system has risen again - this time to $260 billion?

"America's civil justice system was created to ensure access to the courts for those who have truly been injured or wronged, and some of the $260 billion is made up of these cases. Unfortunately, our courts are also being used as a legal roulette wheel by opportunistic plaintiffs' attorneys seeking to strike it rich at the expense of American businesses and the hard-working men and women they employ.

"As such, those victims who are truly deserving of justice take a back seat to the plaintiffs' attorneys who continue to clog the courts with frivolous suits.

"The plaintiffs' bar will no doubt attack this latest report. Yet, we challenge them to provide a more accurate analysis of a tort system in which as many as 80 percent of claimants in asbestos suits aren't even sick; in which only a quarter of settlements in medical liability cases actually goes to victims; and in which the reputation for lawsuit abuse in some states has become so poor that jobs are being destroyed and economic growth has been stunted."

Contact: Ginny Smith of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, 202-463-5824 or gsmith@uschamber.com; Web: http://www.instituteforlegalreform.org

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Free trade and professional industry magazines are available at
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

 

Caring Today Magazine: Worthwhile, But Somewhat Superficial

Caring Today
 
by Phyllis Fine, Wednesday, March 22, 2006
WHEN DANA REEVE, ARGUABLY America's most famous caregiver, died recently, the obits mentioned she'd given up an acting and singing career to devote herself to her husband, paralyzed movie star Christopher Reeve (now deceased too, of course).
 
Dana, described as a model of graceful serenity in her caregiving role, often noted that she had no bitterness about her sacrifice.
 
As profiled in the magazine Caring Today, then-19-year-old Bridget Bennett also gave up her acting dreams to become a caregiver for her mother, Helene, a breast cancer victim. And as far as I'm concerned, Bridget made an even bigger sacrifice. Helene told Bridget it was time for her to quit college, where she was a theater and journalism major, and go into the family business--home and car insurance. "It's not something I had dreamed of doing," Bridget is quoted as saying, "but I enjoy working with the people." As with all accounts of Dana Reeve, Bridget's story focuses on the positive: "My mother's illness has made me more spiritual" and inspired her to lose 80 pounds, Bridget says.
 
I'm sure if I were a caregiver, I'd be heartened by this story, but also a little pissed off at getting only the superficial side. Where is the anger and ambivalence that Bridget must have felt, having to stop the fun of acting classes to attend "the Professional Insurance Agent school"?
 
While Caring Today does a competent job of fulfilling the mission in its tagline--providing "practical advice for the family caregiver"--digging a little deeper would serve its readers well and spice up a sometimes-bland mix of articles, like a boring food column and the front-of-the-book medical items, which are way too long and read like press releases.
 
The longer medical features are better. A three-part diabetes section targets readers smartly, focusing on the subtle surface symptoms of the disease in teeth, skin and feet that caregivers need to watch for. "Understanding Arthritis" puts the condition in context as the nation's leading cause of disability, discussing its various permutations and treatments simply enough so that even a medical idiot (me, for instance) could understand.
 
"Gentle Travel Adventures" helpfully discusses the accessibility of three U.S. cities, but is marred by its generic travel brochure style, complete with the worst fault of the genre, the baffling mention of a supposedly world-famous sight: Chattanooga's Ross's Landing, "where the infamous Trail of Tears began"--what trail? What tears? The blurb with the story asks a good question that never gets answered: "If your traveling companion has a physical disability, you face a unique challenge. So, how do you get the real break you need?" A first-person approach here, maybe describing how a caregiver went on a trip and balanced her needs with those of her charge, would have livened things up considerably.
 
A story about a New Hampshire-based breast cancer support group--"Oh, Those Breast Friends!"--thankfully livens its inspirational tone with humor, like the mention of The Young and The Breastless, a rock band one of the support group's members wanted to form.
 
Though I'm not usually big on reader-written stories, the best piece in this issue is one penned by a reader, Ami S., about the dog that takes care of Ami's Alzheimer's-stricken mother. Any tendency toward the maudlin is counterbalanced by Ami's clear-eyed voice and detailed focus on a dog who does everything short of putting on a nurse's uniform and asking, "How are we feeling today?" Madison, the dog, "wears a backpack containing a change of clothes, medicine, money, ID and other things my mother needs but no longer can keep track of, recognize or carry." Ami even claims that Madison "can hand a clerk a credit card (but won't sign for the purchase)."
 
Since it's the real-life stories that shine, it's particularly disturbing that Caring Today's cover photos are actually posed model shots. In place of the March/April phony cover, I wish the mag's editors had chosen a great inside photo of Bridget, the young caregiver, with her mother, Helene: Helen is wearing that chemo-bald look, which makes the photo more genuine still.
 
If Caring Today's editors want to be heartwarming, they should focus more on the real heart of the mag's topic, and forget the generic photos and text.
 
Phyllis Fine is columns editor for MediaPost.
 
Magazine Rack for Wednesday, March 22, 2006:
http://publications.mediapost.com/
 
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Free trade and professional industry magazines are available at
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_______________________________________________________
Lung Cancer caused by asbestos exposure is known as
Mesothelioma. Learn more about this killer cancer.
Visit http://www.Mesothelioma-Search-Engine.com
_______________________________________________________
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mesothelioma

Monday, March 20, 2006

 

Quest for Cure of Asbestos Joinded By Asbestos Workers Union

Asbestos Workers Union Joins New Medical Foundation's Quest for Cure of Asbestos and Benzene-Related Cancers
               
LOS ANGELES, March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pacific Heart, Lung and Blood Institute ("PACHLAB") is pleased to announce the addition of Terry Lynch as a member of its Board of Directors.  PACHLAB is a 501(c)(3) non-profit medical research foundation devoted to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of occupational diseases through independent research, collaboration, and education.
 
Terry Lynch is Vice President at Large of the International Association Heat & Frost Insulators & Asbestos Workers and also serves as the Health and Safety Director for the Union.  He comes from a proud family of asbestos insulators, which include his grandfather, father, uncle, brother, and many cousins.  Mr. Lynch's son, Jason, now completes the family's fourth generation of insulators.  Over the years, Mr. Lynch has witnessed first hand the ravages of asbestos on the lives of countless Union brothers.
 
"The suffering must stop," Mr. Lynch said.  "Too many insulators and other working people have died.  We have known about asbestos cancer for decades, yet not enough has been done to lift the curse of mesothelioma.  We must work with industry, government, doctors, and drug companies to establish research programs that will end the apathy and build hope."
 
"I am proud to join PACHLAB," Mr. Lynch continued.  "We will be conducting research in the Punch Worthington lab at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  We have high expectations that our research will lead to novel treatments."  Mr. Lynch will act as a liaison between PACHLAB and construction and shipyard labor unions whose members are at risk for asbestos and benzene-related cancers.
 
Dr. Cameron, one of PACHLAB's scientific advisors, stated, "I have agreed to work closely with PACHLAB because it offers a unique approach to collaborative research.  Not only will we work with patients, doctors and donors to raise funds for promising new research, we will actually do the bench work studies in-house, either alone or in conjunction with other investigators."
 
"'Punch' Worthington is a patient of mine who suffers from an asbestos-related cancer," Dr. Cameron explained.  "As a painter-taper, Punch is also at risk for another occupational cancer, acute myelogenous leukemia.  We came up with the idea for a research environment that fosters basic research that is often pegged as too preliminary to receive funding from standard sources. This type of research, although highly speculative, also holds the most promise for true innovation."
 
PACHLAB's first project will study immunologic and anti-angiogenic (anti-blood vessel) therapies, both of which have been praised as potential "cures" for mesothelioma.  PACHLAB aims to conduct research in its own laboratory and in coordination with other institutions, such as the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
 
"This is a true 21st Century approach to medical research," Cameron continued, "And is the brainchild of Punch Worthington who is a true scientist and scholar.  Punch believes, for instance, that bringing all the parties involved in asbestos litigation together to support and fund this type of research by donating a portion of legal settlements, will accelerate the long overdue discovery of truly effective therapies for this awful disease.  With heroes like Punch, scientists like myself cannot help but take up the challenge."
 
Also joining PACHLAB's Board of Directors is Terry McCann of Dana Point, California.  Mr. McCann, who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in 2005, has led an exemplary life.  He won the Olympic Gold Medal in wrestling in 1960.  He helped manage the Surfriders Foundation, served on several Olympic Games committees, and was the CEO of Toastmasters International for 25 years.
 
Contact:  Robert Cameron, MD
Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute
11818 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA  90025
Tel:  (310) 622-4960
Fax:  (310) 231-2131
E-Mail: info@phlbi.org
http://www.phlbi.org
 
SOURCE Pacific Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Web Site:
http://www.phlbi.org

mesothelioma

Sunday, March 19, 2006

 

Mesothelioma Associated With Exposure to Volcanic Mineral

Exposure to volcanic mineral associated with increased mesothelioma incidence in Turkey

High exposure to a fibrous volcanic mineral called erionite was associated with a high incidence of a type of cancer called mesothelioma, according to a study in the March 15 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Public release date: 14-Mar-2006 - Many cases of environment-related mesothelioma have been reported in the Cappadocia region or Anatolian plateau of Turkey. Blocks of erionite from volcanic tuff have been used in construction, and storage rooms for produce have been cut in the tuff. Past reports have suggested that erionite exposure may increase the risk of mesothelioma, and studies have shown that erionite is associated with a higher risk of cancer development in animals than any other fiber previously tested.

Y. Izzettin Baris, M.D., of Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, and colleagues followed 891 men and women age 20 years and older in three villages in Turkey – two exposed to erionite, one control – for 23 years. During this period, 372 deaths occurred, and 119 of these deaths occurred from mesothelioma. This form of cancer mainly affects the lining of the lung and was the cause of 44.5% of all deaths in the two villages with erionite exposure. Only two cases of mesothelioma occurred in the control village, both in people born outside of the control village.

The mortality data were analyzed jointly with Philippe Grandjean, M.D., Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health. When standardized to the world population, the annual incidence of pleural mesothelioma in the two exposed villages was 200 and 700 cases per 100,000 people annually, compared to a rate of 10 cases per 100,000 people each year in the control village. The authors conclude that the long-term exposure to erionite is the cause of the exceedingly high risk of developing mesothelioma.

"Our results emphasize the severity of the mesothelioma endemic in erionite-exposed areas of Turkey," the authors write. They add, "In the rural part of central Anatolia, Turkey, millions of inhibitants are likely exposed to hazardous amounts of mineral fibers from the environment. Resources should therefore be directed to preventing these environmental exposures and additional study of the association between environmental exposure to nonasbestos fibers and the risk of cancer."

###

Contact: Christina Roache, Office of Communications, Harvard School of Public Health, 617-432-6052, croache@hsph.harvard.edu

Citation: Baris YI and Grandjean P. Prospective Study of Mesothelioma Mortality in Turkish Villages With Exposure to Fibrous Zeolite. J Natl Cancer Inst 2006; 98: 414-417.

Note: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute is published by Oxford University Press and is not affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. Attribution to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute is requested in all news coverage. Visit the Journal online at http://jncicancerspectrum.oxfordjournals.org/.

Contact: Ariel Whitworth
jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org
301-841-1287
Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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_______________________________________________________
Lung Cancer caused by asbestos exposure is known as
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Visit http://www.Mesothelioma-Search-Engine.com

_______________________________________________________
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Monday, March 13, 2006

 

Chemotherapy Pump May Provide Options

 
Kinder, Gentler Chemotherapy

With the advent of technology brought to the U.S. from France, having to postpone, even stop, regular life activities to go to a chemo ward to receive chemotherapy treatments, may be a thing of the past. Utilizing a portable, computerized pump that can fit in a fanny pack, patients receive their chemotherapy at a time when it will be most effective and least toxic.

Evanston, IL (PRWEB) March 13, 2006 -- With the advent of technology brought to the U.S. from France, having to postpone, even stop, regular life activities to go to a chemo ward to receive chemotherapy treatments, may be a thing of the past. Utilizing a portable, computerized pump that can fit in a fanny pack, patients receive their chemotherapy at a time when it will be most effective and least toxic.

"Using a portable, computerized pump to deliver chemotherapy allows patients to participate in normal daily activities such as walking, jogging, yoga, and even sleeping while they are receiving their treatments," states cancer specialist Keith Block, MD, who brought this technology to the U.S, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s PDQ Cancer CAM Editorial Board. “This unique pump allows for a more specialized method of chemotherapy administration than just modifying the timing of the drug alone. This revolutionary delivery system has demonstrated in large randomized trials its potential to improve survival."

One patient, LisaAnn McConnell, used to go in-line skating along Lake Michigan wearing that special fanny pack. Little did anyone know that the fanny pack she wore was administering chemotherapy for her colon cancer.

"It allows for larger doses to be delivered more frequently, with higher efficacy and lower toxicity," said pioneering chronobiologist Dr. William Hrushesky, a senior clinical investigator at the Dorn VA Medical Center in South Carolina, one of just a handful of U.S. locations that offers chronotherapy. "It's kinder, gentler and at the same time, more aggressive and effective."

"Every drug has an optimal time when it is least toxic and most effective," says Dr. Block. "For cancer treatment, this is determined by several factors, including the biological uniqueness of the particular drug being given, the time when the specific type of cancer cells divide the most, when the normal healthy cells of the patient generally divide the least, the patient’s circadian clock and individual rest-activity cycles, and even the time zone the person resides in."

"We have found that often patients receiving their chemotherapy this way reduce what would have been recurring side effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue," explained Dr. Block cofounder and Medical/Scientific Director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care, and Director of Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. This is important because the debilitation caused by chemo can cause patients to reduce or even stop treatments that could otherwise help them win their battle with cancer." In fact, current research shows that up to 1/3 of chemotherapy patients abandon treatments prematurely due to the side effects.

According to Dr. Block, "Even after prior treatments have failed patients, using our specialized pumps to administer chronomodulated chemotherapy, we have been able to re-challenge these same patients with the identical drug regimen and this time around gotten successful results."

McConnell, who was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 46, is the third generation in her family to have been diagnosed with this form of cancer, and until now there have been no survivors. “I’m happy to say that my doctors now think that my cancer is 100% gone,” says McConnell, now 47.

The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care located in Evanston, Illinois, was founded in 1980 by Penny and Keith Block, M.D., committed to the unrelenting belief that no cancer patient should ever be given up on, and with a focus on treating the patient as a whole person, not simply treating the diagnosis. The Center's research-based treatment integrates an innovative approach to the best of conventional medicine with scientifically sound complementary therapies -- therapeutic nutrition, botanical and phytonutrient supplementation, prescriptive exercise, and systematic mind-body strategies, to enhance the recovery process. Block has pioneered this "middle ground" approach to cancer care and optimal health -- designing a total treatment plan that is tailored to the precise needs of each patient, using a unique set of clinical and laboratory assessments. The Block Center is breaking new ground with the creation and development of Cancer Rehab as an innovative treatment modality, and is currently the only private North American medical center using chronomodulated chemotherapy. Dr .Block is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s PDQ Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Editorial Board in Washington, D.C. While the Block Center is a full treatment clinic, it is also officially a CCOP site through the National Cancer Institute, and is engaged in clinical cancer research with the University of Illinois and other university facilities in the United States and Israel (www.blockmd.com)

# # #

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_______________________________________________________
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_______________________________________________________
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Doctors Offered Solution For Malpractice Worries

 
Fleeing Doctors Run No More; Pennsylvania Organization, MDS, Says They Have the Solution to the Rampant Malpractice Dilemma

A company in Pennsylvania, founded by physicians and attorneys, has developed a solution to the rampant litigation and awards plaguing the medical community. For years, due to unbridled litigation, the threat of litigation and ridiculous judgments and settlements, doctors have been fleeing the areas they are needed the most to avoid persecution. Malpractice Defense Services provides a revolutionary approach to malpractice defense.

Plymouth Meeting, PA (PRWEB) March 13, 2006 -- A company in Pennsylvania, founded by physicians and attorneys, has developed a solution to the rampant litigation and awards plaguing the medical community.

Malpractice Defense Services Home Page

In many states, medical practitioners are being subjected to a high number of frivolous lawsuits that affect the physicians' professional and private lives, as well as their accessibility to patients.

These suits, coupled with the resulting annual bump in medical malpractice premiums, have caused many physicians to flee to other, less dangerous, locations. This is especially the case in states in the Northeast such as Pennsylvania, the location of MDS' headquarters.

"People have been discussing what it would be like if it was difficult, if not impossible, to find a specialist in their own county or even state. Well, it's no longer a matter of 'what if'. Communities are losing great doctors due to the impotence of the current system", says Dr. Todd Morehouse, an ear, nose and throat surgeon and a Director at MDS.

"Unfortunately for the defendants involved in these protracted lawsuits, there is no one who is truly on their side", states attorney Todd Nurick, MDS' President and CEO. "The insurance-appointed attorneys are paid hourly. They are looking out for the best interests of the insurance company, not the doctor, and have no incentive to have the physician removed from the litigation as soon as possible."

Why is this?

"It's the result of what we call the 'Triple Threat'. The insurance company pays the insurance-appointed attorney’s bill;
It’s the insurance company’s money at stake in a settlement or judgment; and,
The insurance company directs the attorney’s actions.
The real client is the insurance company."

Seemingly, then, the doctors have no one looking out for them, making sure that their voice is heard.

Morehouse agrees, stating that, "Clearly, the current method for protecting yourself, as a practitioner, is not sufficient. This has resulted in higher judgments, higher settlements and longer litigation. That’s why premiums are increasing again in 2006."    

"Most medical practitioners have been forced to hire private counsel to augment the insurance-appointed counsel in malpractice litigation. That can cost from $10,000 to $40,000 or more", says Morehouse.

Both Nurick and Morehouse are confident that MDS is the solution to what they claim is a plague, especially in the Northeast.

Dr. Morehouse states, "MDS is a 'revolutionary approach to malpractice defense'."

"MDS is a retainer-based organization that was created to be more-than-affordable to the medical community. We provide the doctors with the highest level of malpractice defense. No more need to go running around trying to find an attorney at the last minute and shelling out perhaps tens of thousands of dollars at once. MDS is not there just before or at the beginning of litigation, but throughout the entire process."

MDS not only provides the practitioner with preventive information and advice, but will be there the second that doctor is named as a defendant in a lawsuit. “We don't just write a few letters threatening to sue back if the doc wins. We actually serve as the client's personal counsel throughout the entire litigation. The 'missing link', if you will", says Nurick.

Unlike other companies Nurick claims are "run by 'profiteers' with the goal of benefiting from the pain of the doctors and their communities, MDS, the 'original', serves as a physician's personal attorney."

And, unlike those other organizations Nurick refers to, MDS does not just write a few letters on the physicians' behalf and refer them to an outside law firm. MDS is committed to being the doctor's private counsel and colleague.

MDS' goal is to get the doctor out of any litigation as soon as possible, without stretching out the process to generate fees for plaintiff attorneys and insurance appointed defense attorneys. "We've found that most of the doctors named are not even targets of the litigation. They're just being named for the sake of greed."

Whose greed?

"We'll leave that to the public to answer. I believe in common sense, and I believe that common sense will eventually prevail. If we do our job the way it should be done, MDS will have a permanent effect on malpractice litigation and premiums", Nurick says.

Additionally, MDS’ fees may be deductible as a legitimate business expense. Check with your accountant.

About Malpractice Defense Services:
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MDS is committed to the highest standards of ethics in law and medicine.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

 

Asbestos Mining Victims Gain Another Victory

Another Victory For Asbestos Mining Victims
---------------------------------------------------------------

By Sizwe samaYende

07 Mar 2006 - Nelspruit - There is hope of compensation in sight for more asbestos miners who contracted diseases and other life-threatening ailments because of their jobs. Nelspruit-based lawyer Richard Spoor has brokered a deal with Swiss Eternit Group, a multinational company, to establish a trust that will pay the workers for the next 20 years.

The Kgalagadi Relief Trust will pay individuals who used to work at the group's asbestos mines at Kuruman and Danielskuil in the Northern Cape between 1952 and 1981. Spoor said the structure and organisation of the trust would be modeled on the existing Asbestos Relief Trust.

The Asbestos Relief Trust, which Spoor was instrumental in creating, was established in 2003 following an out-of-court settlement between asbestos sufferers and their former bosses, Msauli, Gencor and Gefco. The three companies agreed to set aside R460 million to compensate ex-workers from mines in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Northern Cape.

This trust's formation followed a victory by about 7 000 asbestos victims who used to work for British multinational company, Cape Plc.
 
Cape Plc's employees set a precedent by forcing the company to pay about R97 million in 2001 to compensate sickly workers and relatives of workers who had died from asbestos-related diseases. "To avoid unnecessary duplication, the Asbestos Relief Trust will be entrusted with the management and administration of the new trust," Spoor said.

He declined to reveal how much Swiss Eternit Group set aside for the compensation of its ex-worker s but said that both parties were satisfied that "the grants payable to qualifying applicants are fair and equitable."
 
"The contributions are confidential but [we] are confident that they will be sufficient to enable the trust to fulfill its obligations to beneficiaries," said Spoor. Spoor added that the Kgalagadi Relief Trust would become active from the beginning of next month.

Meanwhile, the Asbestos Relief Trust was planning to set up claim offices in the neighbouring countries of Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho this year to facilitate the compensation of ex-workers from these countries. This trust has approved about R100.9 million to date, to be paid to qualifying ex-mineworkers. - BuaNews

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Revelations of Fraudulence in Mass Tort System

NLPC Urges Congress to Act on Revelations of Fraudulence in Mass Tort System

WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) today applauded the House Energy and Commerce Committee's investigations into the mass tort screening process for silicosis cases and the resulting illustration of widespread fraudulence within tort law.

"This hearing once again illustrated the shamelessness of trial lawyers in manufacturing lawsuits with no basis in fact that are designed solely to line their pockets," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the NLPC. "There were no new revelations from the witnesses; the fact that trial lawyers would file thousands of unsupportable lawsuits in order to extort money from businesses should not be a surprise to anyone," Boehm said.

Silicosis is a deadly disease that occurs in workers who breathed tiny sand particles while on the job. Unfortunately, unscrupulous lawyers are manufacturing spurious health claims to extort millions of dollars from defendant companies. In fact, U.S. District Judge Janice Jack last year excoriated lawyers and their "expert witnesses" for essentially filing bogus lawsuits claiming that thousands of plaintiffs were suffering from silicosis. Under the increased level of scrutiny ordered by Judge Jack, most of these cases were found to be baseless.

"This type of behavior has been going on for years in lawsuits over asbestos exposure. The Energy and Commerce Committee hearing provided a long overdue look at how these lawyers operate and the harm they are doing to our legal system," said Boehm. Their blatantly unethical practices need to come to an end. "Congress also needs to step in and change the system to stop this judicial game playing."

Silicosis is not the only medical case where fraudulent activity has been seen. Similar acts are being perpetrated in cases involving asbestos. The U.S. Senate's Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act is pending legislation that will stop the fraudulent asbestos lawsuits.

"Enacting the FAIR Act would be a step in the right direction. These lawyers need to realize that in their quest for huge legal fees they are harming businesses, victims, and the entire legal system. It doesn't seem they will get this message without a little help from the U.S. Congress and good judges like Judge Jack," Boehm concluded.

The National Legal and Policy Center promotes ethics in public life through research, education and legal action.

Website: http://www.nlpc.org/

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Asbestos Exposure Not Part Of Emergency Workers Scheduled Training

Emergency workers face asbestos threat
 
By Luke McIlveen
 
March 08, 2006 - AT least 250 of New South Wales's elite emergency workers have been told they could die from exposure to lethal levels of asbestos during anti-terrorist training drills. The personnel at risk include members of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) unit, who were told last week that they may have contracted life-threatening illnesses after training on a demolition site at Holsworthy Army Barracks.
The site was set up to simulate rescues in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster and has been regularly used by fire brigade, ambulance, police and army personnel since 2004.
 
Asbestos has been found in huge piles of rubble, which are used to resemble collapsed city buildings.
 
Emergency workers who spent up to three weeks at a time crawling through the rubble were contacted by their department chiefs last week and told the exposure could kill them.
 
The calls last week left senior personnel devastated. Asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma can take decades to appear and it may be 30 years before the emergency workers can be cleared of infection.
 
Even Premier Morris Iemma has visited the site he has been warned he has a low-level risk of exposure.
 
NSW Fire Brigades chief Greg Mullins said last night he was reviewing a scientific assessment of the site and was talking to his own staff, ambulance, police, the Defence Department and unions about the mass exposure.
 
The Daily Telegraph understands the rescuers have been divided into categories A, B and C, with category A the most severely affected.
 
Fifteen of the ambulance service's special casualty access team's 40 members have been diagnosed as category A.
 
An unknown number of support staff including police, doctors, nurses and hazardous material personnel have also been exposed at the facility.
 
Mr Iemma, listed as a category C, walked around the site during a visit to Holsworthy in September, soon after becoming Premier.
 
Mr Mullins issued a press release last week stating asbestos had been found at the site, which was used by personnel "from time to time".
 
But today the real story behind the bureaucratic bungle can be revealed.
 
Following interviews with the state's top-level emergency personnel, it has been established that:
 
- NO proper tests were done at the site before it became a training ground for hundreds of top-level rescuers in 2004;
 
- PERSONNEL were kept in the dark for up to a year about the asbestos before being told last week;
 
- NSW public officials and a host of ministers may have been exposed;
 
- AMBULANCE chief Greg Rochford and Mr Mullins have been at the site and must face a health clearance; and
 
THE Dust Diseases Tribunal is conducting an investigation into the long-term impact the mass exposure could have on emergency services in NSW.
The Fire Brigade took over the training site from the Defence Department in 2004 after an audit found the state's emergency services were not adequately prepared for a terrorist attack.
 
Mr Mullins told Mr Rochford about the asbestos last week.
 
WorkCover inspectors were called in to shut down the site last week.
 
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New Asbestos Challenge Faced By Mesothelioma Widows

Widows face new asbestos challenge

Lawyers representing mesothelioma sufferers and their families are facing a challenge to victims’ continued right to compensation for the deadly asbestos cancer, mesothelioma, in a hearing in the House of Lords due to start on Monday, March 13.

Sylvia Barker and Mary Murray will face arguments that the law should be changed to stop them being compensated in full for losing their husbands to the fatal disease, because some of the companies responsible have vanished or were not insured.

If successful, the appeal, by successors of employers in the shipbuilding and steelmaking industries, could deprive thousands of claimants of their full entitlement to compensation for mesothelioma. The hearing in London between 13 – 15 March follows the defeat of insurers’ attempt to end compensation for mesothelioma in the Fairchild test cases in the House of Lords in 2002. The insurance industry is watching developments in the appeal which, if successful, could save insurers millions of pounds.

The legal team representing the families includes the specialist law firms Thompsons Solicitors and John Pickering & Partners.

Ian McFall, Head of Asbestos Litigation for Thompsons Solicitors, who act for Mrs. Murray, explains: "What we will be asking the Law Lords to do is simple - uphold the law which requires negligent employers and their insurers to pay full compensation to mesothelioma sufferers and their families. Anything less will be an injustice."

Mary Murray, 84, from Sunderland, Tyne & Wear comments: “I have had 7 years of misery since John died from this terrible disease. I would rather have him back any day and they could keep the money. But it was the employers’ fault he was taken away from me. I just think employers and insurance companies care more about the money than they do about being fair to people like me and my husband who suffered so much.”

Representing Mrs Barker, James Thompson from Pickering & Partners comments: “If these appeals succeed, mesothelioma sufferers and their families could be deprived of 50% or more of their compensation. Severe financial hardship would result from awards being slashed in many cases by tens of thousands of pounds, so that guilty employers and their insurers can save money.”

Sylvia Barker, 58, of Hollywell, Flintshire said: “I’m angry that after these people took away Vernon’s life, they are adding insult to injury. They admitted that they should have protected him from asbestos. Why should they get the law changed to save them paying for what they have done?”

The House of Lords will be asked to decide on a second, important issue in Mrs Barker’s case: whether compensation should be denied altogether when a mesothelioma sufferer was in contact with asbestos during a period of self-employment, even if, like Mrs Barker’s late husband, they were also exposed to asbestos in a different period as an employee.

The important issues of law and policy in these cases will have far reaching implications for mesothelioma cases throughout the UK: 1,800 people die each year of mesothelioma and the numbers are rising. Many had contact with asbestos in more than one job. It is common for employers to have ceased trading, with no trace of their insurers.

The majority of people diagnosed with mesothelioma were innocent employees who were exposed to asbestos at work without being warned of the dangers.

Ends

For further information please contact:
Thompsons Solicitors:
Ian McFall,
Head of Asbestos Litigation
Thompsons Solicitors
0191 2690 488 / 0797 0728 184

Katie King, Thompsons Press Office
Mobile: 07974 161 179
Email: thompsons@2thefore.biz

John Pickering and Partners:
James Thompson, partner:
0161 633 6667 / 07976 896224
jt@johnpickering.co.uk

Paul Glanville or Ruth Davies 01422 345535
Carol Ann Hepworth 0161 834 1251
Kevin Johnson 0151 227 1214

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

 

Hypnosis Download Now Available To Help Stop Smoking

 
Stop Smoking Hypnosis Download Now Available

A downloadable version of a successful hypnosis CD to stop smoking is now available at www.EasilyStopSmoking.com at a discounted price for a limited time.

London, UK (PRWEB) March 8, 2006 -- EasilyStopSmoking.com, the most successful stop smoking hypnosis system, announces the availability of a downloadable version of its hypnosis CD to quit smoking at less-than-half of the normal CD price. The price discount is available only for a limited time and can be ordered at http://easilystopsmoking.com/downloadCD.php.

The CD was created by a hypnotherapist named Randy Charach who has been helping people change their lives and quit smoking for over 20 years. He has worked with celebrities like John Travolta, Madonna and Sean Penn. EasilyStopSmoking.com founder and director Martin Popham arranged for the rights to sell the product after he and his wife had both used the product and succeeded with it. It took him less than a week to quit smoking using the hypnosis, when he once smoked 40 cigarettes a day for 18 years.

The stop smoking hypnosis program is just like a session in the office of a hypnotherapist. The site now offers a free audio sample, so potential users can listen and know exactly what to expect from the treatment before purchasing.

The success rate of the program is around 93.2%, which is one of the highest rates of any hypnosis product on the market. There is a money-back guarantee within 60 days for customers who are not completely satisfied.

Many people have tried hypnosis without success, but Martin says that those people should not give up. “People are too incredibly busy and stressed these days. It’s hard to rush off down to the doctor’s office and be able to sit and relax enough to go under the spell and achieve success. Our program is one which is designed to be listened to in the evening while in bed or while relaxing in a quiet room, and due to the convenience factor, the success rate is much higher.”

The downloadable file is available in MP3 and WMA formats and is available for $37 (approximately £20). Users have access to the download page for 30 days so they may access the file as much as they wish in that time. It will work with Windows Media Player or any other audio or media player and can be burned onto a CD or uploaded in an MP3 player to be used anywhere. The file is just over 30 megabytes in size, so users with a slow internet connection should consider ordering the CD instead (which sells for $77, or approximately £43) and this option now comes with free shipping worldwide.

“The low price and quick access to the product through the download will make it more accessible to everyone,” Martin said. “When you are a smoker, and you really and truly find a way to quit, you want to share it with as many people as possible.”

About EasilyStopSmoking.com (www.easilystopsmoking.com) –
EasilyStopSmoking.com, based out of London, UK, has used its stop smoking hypnosis program to help nearly 1000 people from all over the world stop smoking in only six months of operation. Company founder and director Martin Popham began sharing the program with others after his personal battle with smoking was successful after using the treatment. New features on the site include an audio sample and the availability of both MP3 and WMA files.

Contact:
Martin Popham
Founder and director
07890 803858
http://www.easilystopsmoking.com

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Secrets on How to Avoid Becoming Healthcare System Victim Exposed By Medical Doctor

 
Medical Doctor Exposes Secrets on How to Avoid Becoming Victim to the Healthcare System

Overcoming powerful forces that influence the way a patient is treated within the healthcare system is discussed in a recently published book.

Salem, OR (PRWEB) March 8, 2006 -- In this recently published book, “Secrets of Medical Decision Making”, (ISBN 1932690174, January 2006,) Oleg I. Reznik, M.D. brings to light exactly how a physician’s recommendations can be influenced by powerful forces that have nothing to do with the patient’s best interest. “Fear of litigation is one of these forces with power to change the way medicine is practiced,” claims Reznik.

A recent report in JAMA (2005; 293) revealed that nearly all (93%) physicians, in six specialties, surveyed reported practicing defensive medicine. The report further states that most physicians avoid procedures and patients that were perceived to elevate the probability of litigation. Furthermore, nearly half of them reported that they had taken steps to restrict their practice by eliminating procedures prone to complications, such as trauma surgery, and avoiding patients who had complex medical problems or were perceived as litigious.

The influence of the pharmaceutical industry on creating medical guidelines is another force responsible for the direction of today’s medicine. “The current medical model, which was created close to one hundred years ago mainly for the treatment of the acute illnesses, and is now applied to our current plague—chronic illness,” explains Reznik. Financial and time pressure is another challenge that is contributing more and more to what happens to the quality of out interaction with a physician, as our health care dollars are dwindling. Speaking about his book, Reznik continues, “while the existence of these challenges has been recognized before, I believe that I’ve made a contribution in clarifying exactly how they translate into the everyday doctor-patient interaction.”

Awareness of the factors that go into medical decision making will always help to find a better solution to any given medical problem. The patient can learn the limiting aspects of the physician’s and of their own thinking that lead to more suffering. Physicians, bound by their own fears and pressures, are one such source of such suffering. Patients’ unreasonable expectations are another. “The audience should be aware every time they see a commercial advertising a medication or a medical service on TV, that such advertising does not have purely altruistic motives. For this reason it is biased, prone to inaccuracies and to giving false impressions. Our false impressions about the capabilities of medicine drive us to its unnecessary consumption, to disappointment, frustration, resentment, to emotional and physical pain,” claims Reznik.

While modern medicine does have an effective arsenal of treatments for the acute medical problems, things are different when it comes to chronic illness. A modest slowing of progression is the most modern medicine can boast, when it comes to most chronic illness. “In my book I accurately describe what medicine can and cannot do for some of the common medical problems. It is my hope awareness of these issues would motivate the reader/listener to take charge of their own lives and consider their health in the light of their own lifestyles, instead of believing that someone else (the medical system) will fix it for them,” reiterates Reznik. “I wrote this book to bring a sense of independence and self-empowerment to the prospective patients. During my training and practice as a physician I became acutely aware of the great deal of suffering that stems not only from the illnesses, but more so from the beliefs that most people have regarding the capabilities of the modern medical system.” These beliefs almost invariably lead to disappointment, frustration, and a great deal of physical and emotional pain. Patients with such beliefs submit themselves to tests and invasive procedures that bring them nothing more than additional suffering.

Oleg I. Reznik, M.D., practices almost exclusively mind-body medicine in his private practice, while continuing to do conventional medicine, hospital work, and low-risk obstetrics at Willamette Family Medical Center in Salem, Oregon. “Secrets of Medical Decision Making: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of the Healthcare Machine”, published by Loving Healing Press, is available through online bookstores or may be purchased at a local bookstore. Loving Healing Press books are distributed by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and New Leaf Distributing. For a review copy, contact email protected from spam bots

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Monday, March 06, 2006

 

Health Search Engine Decides What You Are Looking For

 
Fealth.com Unveils Comprehensive Health Search Engine - Vertical Health Search Engine Fealth.com Launched

Fealth.com today unveiled the internets most comprehensive Health Search Engine at http://www.fealth.com. Fealth.com search results provide highly relevant and reliable health information from the vast amount of information available on the Internet. Using industry accepted trust indicators, such as health certifications, to establish high value rankings, Fealth.com filters out irrelevant search results, such as searching for information on a virus though most search engines providing information on computer viruses.

Westlake Village, CA (PRWEB) March 6, 2006 -- Fealth.com today unveiled the Internet's most comprehensive Health Search Engine at http://www.fealth.com. Fealth.com search results provide highly relevant and reliable health information from the vast amount of information available on the Internet. Using industry accepted trust indicators, such as health certifications, to establish high value rankings, Fealth.com filters out irrelevant search results, such as searching for information on a virus though most search engines providing information on computer viruses.

Fealth, derived from fitness and health is available at http://www.fealth.com and is also available for license to internet portals and publishers for integration within their own websites. An initial portal partner, stayhealthy.com which launched in 1995 as one of the first healthcare websites, is using Fealth’s on-demand and highly customizable search solution to compliment and expand its own health related products.

“Fealth is a perfect choice to more than 110 million Internet users who are looking for health information. Cluttered information on the web and lack of a good health search engines cause a significant amount of lost time and effort for any consumer or health care professional.” Said Ravi Kalidindi, founder and CEO of Findica Inc, “Our search engine provides highly qualified and relevant information without having to page though volumes of irrelevant material.”

“Fealth is providing us excellent on-demand and highly customizable health search and information solutions. These solutions fit very well into our portal, were easily integrated and give our visitors incredibly qualified information which compliments our own products.” said John Collins, CEO of StayHealthy.com “We've already received fantastic feedback from our visitors and customers who are finding highly relevant health information that they otherwise would not have found”.

About Findica Inc and Fealth

Findica was founded in 2004 with a vision to become a leading provider of industry specific information and search solutions for internet and corporate users. Fealth.com is its first product providing the best health search and navigation experience on the web. Findica is based in Westlake Village, CA, and may be contacted with questions and investment queries via email; or visit our Web site at http://www.fealth.com

Media Contact
Fuel Marketing
(512) 832-9995

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

 

New Mesothelioma Offers News

Most Recent Information and News About Mesothelioma On New Site
Medical: Cancer A new site launched by TidbitMedia.com (http://www.tidbitmedia.com) this week gives readers a new resource for an extensive variety of in-depth news and info associated with mesothelioma. The site, called allmesotheliomanews.com, can be found at http://www.allmesotheliomanews.com and will be updated daily with the freshest and most interesting morsels of mesothelioma news and updates.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Most Recent Information and News About Mesothelioma On New Site

SANTA CLARA, CA - A new site launched by TidbitMedia.com (http://www.tidbitmedia.com) this week gives readers a new resource for an extensive variety of in-depth news and info associated with mesothelioma. The site, called AllMesotheliomaNews.com, can be viewed by following this link:
http://www.allmesotheliomanews.com and will be updated daily with the freshest and most interesting morsels of mesothelioma news and updates. Articles will be put up with headlines and a concise blurb about what the article is associated with. This will be a convenient means for those who want to learn more about what mesothelioma is or those who just want to get further information regarding legal help in an easy-to-read arrangement.

The site will be a valuable source for users who want to read the most recent mesothelioma news and updates in an efficient manner. The Web site's convenient layout will save readers valuable time without watering down the informational content. If a reader is only interested in reading articles associated with specific legal issues and advice, or any other related subjects, they can use the helpful search bar to look for those specific articles on the site.

The simplicity of the articles and the capability to search the site for specific information will enable readers to save time whenever they want to read the latest information concerning mesothelioma. This enables them to spend more time checking other sites, find legal assistance, or do anything else they want to spend their newfound extra time on.

AllMesotheliomaNews.com was created by TidbitMedia.com to conveniently meet readers with mesothelioma news and information presented in a format they want to read it. Articles are up for viewing on the site. For more information please contact pr@tidbitmedia.com

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