Inquiries with the Investigator: CAR-T Cell Therapy

Immunotherapy – a class of treatments that uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer – has increasingly gained widespread acceptance from leading biomedical scientists. There are various types of immunotherapeutic agents. Recently one approach to immunotherapy called “Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy (CAR-T-Cell Therapy) has received a great deal of attention and is finding success in current clinical trials.  CAR-T Cell Therapy entails engineering a patient’s own immune cells to recognize and attack their tumors.  Investigator Ray Wong explains in greater detail below what CAR-T Cell therapy is, what the risks are, and what the future of this form of immunotherapy might look like.

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  • How does Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell therapy (CAR-T Cell therapy) work?

The current generation of CAR T cell therapies being tested in clinical trials involves a complex manufacturing process.  A patient’s immune cells are first removed from their bloodstream through a process called leukapheresis.  Leukapheresis typically takes 2-4 hours, where a patient is connected to a machine that separates immune cells from the blood, and the remaining components are returned to circulation.  The immune cells are shipped to specialized manufacturing facilities where the T cells in the leukapheresis specimens are genetically engineered to insert specific anti-tumor receptors called chimeric antigen receptors (CAR).  The T cells are simultaneously grown to large numbers over 7-10 days, then shipped back to the patient for intravenous infusion by their oncologist.  CAR T cell therapy is currently combined with chemotherapy, which appears necessary to achieve full effectiveness of CAR T cells.

CAR-T Cell Diagram PNG

Photo Credit: UNC Lineberger

  • What are some of the limitations of CAR-T Cell therapy? Which cancers have the best response rate so far?

Other than the two week manufacturing time and high financial cost of treatment, the main limitation is that it thus far only works well in blood cancers like certain leukemias and lymphomas.  There does appear to be a high cure rate in certain blood cancers, with some clinical trials reporting well over 50% complete response rates (disappearance of all disease).  However, solid tumors like mesothelioma have been much more difficult to treat with CAR T cells.  The current prevailing hypothesis is that CAR T cells do not efficiently penetrate solid tumors and/or are shut down by immune suppressive factors often present in solid tumors.

 

  • What are your thoughts on the future of CAR-T-Cell therapy?

Patient safety is still the top concern of CAR T cell therapy.  The FDA has halted some clinic trials as recently as 2016 due to patient deaths.  CAR T cells are very powerful, and can causes excessive immune reactivity resulting in a condition called “cytokine release syndrome,” which can be fatal.  The interaction of CAR T cells combined with chemotherapy is still not fully understood.   The FDA may want several more years of extensive clinical trials to further study safety improvements of CAR T cell therapy.

 

Next-generation CAR T cells may not need to be custom manufactured for each patient.  Researchers are now exploring the use of a gene deletion technology called “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats” (CRISPR) in the laboratory.  CRISPR might be used to convert T cells from healthy donors into universally compatible CAR T cells.  In laboratory studies, CRISPR can be used to delete proteins on the surface of T cells that normally would cause them to be rejected in genetically unrelated recipients.  If successful, this would allow for bulk manufacturing of “off-the-shelf” CAR T cells ready for immediate use, analogous to universally compatible Type O-negative blood.  CRISPR is also being studied to delete other genes in CAR T cells that would make them more resistant to immune suppression.  This might improve their effectiveness in solid cancers.

Valentines Day Blood Donation Challenge

Be A

Be a Love, Donate your Blood!
This Valentines Day, The Pacific Mesothelioma Center invites our supporters to celebrate Valentines Day with us, eat some chocolates, and donate to our International Tissue Bank for Research.
Donations will be collected by PMC Nurse Practitioner Lien Hua-Feng at the PMC office on Santa Monica Blvd, Tuesday, February 14th from 12 pm to 7 pm.

Listen to Nurse Lien’s Tissue Bank Donation Appeal

 

Event Details:
Date: Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
Time: 12 pm to 7 pm
Location: 10780 Santa Monica Blvd Suite 101, Los Angeles, CA 90025
What You Should Bring: If you can, a filled out health questionnaire  for the researcher.

Information About the Tissue Bank

 

tissue bankStudies may be performed to test specific characteristics of your normal, tumor, and immune cells, and to determine the activity of novel medications and treatments.The knowledge gained from these studies as well as your tissues may be used to develop new commercial products in the fight against cancer. Click here for more info.

 

Become An Honorary PHLBI Associate Researcher

Associate Researcher Badge

 Everyone who donates to the PHLBI Tissue Bank for Research gets a pin naming them a “PHLBI Associate Researcher!”

 

New Board Member Alexa McCulloch Joins The Pacific Mesothelioma Center

alexa-mccullochAlexa McCulloch Brings Her Expertise to Help Fight Mesothelioma

LOS ANGELES, CA, U.S.A, November 3, 2016 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (PHLBI), a division of which is the Pacific Mesothelioma Center, has announced the appointment of Alexa McCulloch to the position of treasurer on its board of directors. Alexa is a skilled financial strategist, an experienced fundraiser for public, private and non-profit boards and has personally helped companies raise in excess of $50 million.

Alexa received an M.B.A from Harvard University, has an M.S in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S and B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, graduating with honors. She has served on numerous for-profit and non-profit boards both here in the USA and the UK.

“I am excited about helping this innovative research organization as they try to find answers to this devastating disease that disproportionately affects our veterans”, said Alexa. “My overall board experiences have allowed me to serve on high performing boards as well as those that required improvements. As such, I always work to ensure that boards on which I serve strive to attain the highest performance possible”.

“Alexa has extensive experience in executive leadership at several non-profits, and the financial skills that she gained by working as an investment banker, private equity and venture capital investor at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, will be invaluable in reviewing our organization’s financial position, prospects and filings” said Rhonda Ozanian, chair of the board of directors at the PHLBI.

The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute HONORED AS TOP-RATED NONPROFIT for 2016

2016-top-rated-awards-badge-hi-resThe Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute  announced today that it has been honored with a prestigious Top-Rated Award by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations. “We are excited to be named a Top-Rated [enter year] Nonprofit,” says Clare Cameron, Executive Director, at the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (PHLBI)]. We are proud of our accomplishments this year, including  The Top-Rated Nonprofit award was based on the large number of positive reviews that PHLBI received – reviews written by volunteers, donors and clients.

People posted their personal experience with the nonprofit. For example, one person wrote, “As a mesothelioma patient looking for answers for this devastating disease I am very encouraged by the work at this center and the progress being made in the research lab. I had the opportunity to tour the lab when I attended the PMC Holiday Open House and learn about the exciting research being conducted with mesenchymal stem cells in conjuction with immubotherapy.  I learned a great deal and was truly impressed with all of the work and expertise of the staff”.

While the Top-Rated Awards run through the end of October, The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute  was part of the inaugural group to qualify for the year. In addition, we’ll been added to GreatNonprofits #GivingTuesday Guide—an interactive guide to top nonprofits throughout the years. Look for this near the holidays. “Savvy donors want to see the impact of their donations more than ever,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits, “People with direct experience with PHLBI have voted that the organization is making a real difference.” Being on the Top-Rated list gives donors and volunteers more confidence that this is a credible organization. The reviews by volunteers, clients and other donors show the on-the-ground results of this nonprofit. This award is a form of recognition by the community.

Exploring Asbestos Regulation and Exposure

 

Regulation of Asbestos Use

In 1960, the link between asbestos use and mesothelioma was first established in a study in South Africa that looked at workers in asbestos mines.  Since then, other studies have confirmed asbestos exposure as the primary cause of mesothelioma, prompting restrictions in its use.  In the late 1970’s, the United States Consumer Safety Product Commission (CPSC) started by banning the use of asbestos in wallboard patching and gas fireplaces, citing evidence that asbestos fibers were being released when these products were used, causing numerous health problems, including the development of mesothelioma over time.  In 1989, the US Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the use of asbestos in many new products, however products and uses that were developed before 1989 were still allowed.  As a result, many homes, schools and buildings built before 1989 still contain asbestos materials.  As long as these materials are not disturbed, they EPA stated that they posed little threat.  However, if the asbestos fibers are disturbed, by renovation, repairs, or damage to the building, they pose a significant risk to anyone nearby.

The United States still allows asbestos to be used in certain products that are considered low-risk, such as:  some cement products, automotive transmission and brakes, roof coatings, and some pipeline wrap.  The European Union, Scandinavia, Australia and Japan have banned asbestos use completely.  In the United States, asbestos use has declined from 803,000 metric tons in 1973 to a low of 2,500 metric tons in 2005.

 

Who Might be at Risk for Asbestos Exposure?

  construct                                                                               Occupations at Risk:

  Construction:

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently estimated that 1.3 million workers in the construction field still face asbestos exposure in their jobs, despite restrictions in the use of asbestos in the United States.  Millions more workers have been exposed since the early 1940’s, when asbestos use was widespread.  Individuals involved in construction, the mining or milling of asbestos, shipbuilding, demolition, the manufacture of asbestos products, and autoworkers are at highest risk for asbestos exposure.  These occupations include:

  • Electricians
  • Roofers
  • Pipe Fitters
  • Sheet Metal Workers
  • Masons
  • Carpenters
  • Shipbuilders
  • Painters
  • Tile Setters
  • Plasterers
  • Insulators
  • Laborers
  • Miners
  • Boilermakers
  • Machinists
  • Drywallers
  • Plumbers
  • Automotive Workers
  • Asbestos Miners
  • Raw Asbestos Transportation Workers
  • Power Plant Workers
  • Machinists
  • Roofers
  • Demolition Workers

Military:

During the twentieth century, the U.S. Armed forces used asbestos for a variety of purposes due to its fire resistant capabilities.  These uses of asbestos included:  aircraft brakes and gaskets, trucks, tanks, military barracks, mess halls, and administrative buildings.  This meant that many military personnel were exposed to high levels of asbestos, prior to the EPA’s regulation of its use.  Asbestos usage was particularly high in Navy ships, where it was used to insulate vessels.  Both Navy personnel and those in the shipbuilding industry are at even greater risk for asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma than other branches of the military.

Firefighters and Other First Responders:

firefigterIn the United States, buildings built before 1989 are allowed to still contain asbestos products.  When these buildings are damaged by attack, fire, or natural disasters, the asbestos fibers contained in them are broken and released into the air. Firefighters and other first responders who come to the scene of accidents or disasters are then at risk of inhaling these fibers, while they are trying to provide assistance.  The risk these individuals face became especially clear during the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.  It is estimated that more than 400 tons of asbestos were used to construct both World Trade Center buildings.  These asbestos fibers were then released into the area as the twin towers collapsed, along with dust, rubble and other toxic fumes.  The firefighters, medical personnel, police and volunteers who assisted at Ground Zero have since had numerous respiratory diseases and are at elevated risk for mesothelioma in the years to come.

Teachers:

Many school buildings built before 1989 still contain asbestos.  This puts both students, but especially teachers who spend years and sometimes decades in these buildings, at risk for asbestos exposure.  Currently, public and non-profit schools are required do develop asbestos management plans and either remove or encase any asbestos material that is exposed.  Parents, students and teachers are to be informed of any asbestos containing material in the school, and the steps being taken to manage it.  Schools are also required to be inspected regularly for asbestos exposure.

Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure:

Family members of workers who have been exposed to asbestos have been shown to be at increased risk for mesothelioma.  This is due to second-hand asbestos exposure.  Workers exposed to asbestos can bring home microscopic fibers on their skin, hair and clothing.  Family members who come in contact with workers, or who launder their clothing, are then exposed to asbestos.  To decrease the risk to family members, federal law mandates that steps be taken to reduce second-hand exposure.  This may be require workers to shower or change clothes at work before going home.

Environmental Exposure

 Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that is present in low levels in the air, water and soil.  This low level of exposure is not linked to any health problems.  However, research has shown that individuals who live in the vicinity of asbestos mines have an increased incidence of mesothelioma.  This may be due to the release of large amounts of asbestos fibers into the atmosphere when mining takes place.  Most of these cases were recorded in the 1960’s, when asbestos mining was taking place at a much higher rate than it is now.  Some asbestos-like minerals, called zeolites, which are found in the soil, are thought to be linked to higher mesothelioma rates in some areas of Turkey, according to the American Cancer Society.

Homes:

homeHomes built before 1989 may contain many asbestos products.  These can include:  attic and wall insulation, vinyl floor tiles, roofing or siding shingles, textured paint (including “popcorn” ceilings), hot water heater or pipe insulation, and heat-resistant fabrics used in the house.  In general, these materials only release asbestos fibers when they are disturbed or damaged.  Because of this risk, it is not advisable for individuals to handle these materials on their own.  The EPA recommends having a Certified Asbestos Consultant examine these home before doing any renovation, remodeling or demolition, in order to avoid any unforeseen asbestos exposure

 

About the Author

unnamed-5Sri Ramakumar is a freelance writer with a Master of Science (MS) in Family Studies & Human Development and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Arizona and the University of Minnesota respectively. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in English Composition from the University of Washington. She was also a research assistant at the University of Arizona studying the role of parenting in the social and emotional development of children. Currently, Ms. Ramakumar works as a freelance writer focusing on medical and behavioral health issues for various nonprofits. Ms. Ramakumar resides in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and four children.

Article Sources:

 

“International Mesothelioma Conference Will Kick Off at UCLA”

By: Tim Povtak

 

Thoracic surgeon and renowned mesothelioma specialist Dr. Robert Cameron will be hosting the 6th International Symposium on Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Cameron, director of the UCLA Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program, is a global leader in the development of the lung-sparing pleurectomy/decortication surgery and a vocal advocate for military veterans who develop the asbestos-related disease.

The conference will cover the latest in mesothelioma therapeutics, including novel immunotherapies, gene therapy, upcoming clinical trials and surgical advancements. The purpose is to improve the understanding of multidisciplinary treatment, learn about adjuvant therapy possibilities, raise awareness to various types of immunological therapies, and emphasize the need to treat mesothelioma as a chronic disease.

Oncologists, pulmonologists, surgeons, nurses, medical students, mesothelioma advocates, patients and families across the nation will attend to exchange thoughts and ideas.

The Mesothelioma Center’s Patient Advocates Karen Selby and Vanessa Blanco will participate, ensuring patients and loved ones who reach out to the organization in the coming months will receive the latest information on mesothelioma treatments.

Selby, a registered nurse with a surgical and oncological background, joined The Mesothelioma Center in 2009.

“It’s important for us to be there, hearing about the cutting-edge research and learning about it even before it is published,” Selby said. “We go there to learn what’s working for patients, and what isn’t. It really helps us help our patients.”

The recently opened UCLA Luskin Conference Center will host the symposium. Each speaker will allow a question and answer session following the presentation. Patients, families and speakers can network during the intermissions.

International Panel of Mesothelioma Specialists

A panel of international specialists, including Cameron, will discuss a variety of important topics at the mesothelioma conference. These include:

  • Options for Intraoperative Adjuvant Therapies, Cameron
  • Genetic Immunotherapy for Pleural Mesothelioma, Dr. Daniel Sterman, New York University School of Medicine
  • Targeting Dendritic Cells in Vivo for Tumor Immunotherapy, Dr. Edgar Engleman, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • HOX Genes as Targets and Markers in Mesothelioma, Dr. Richard Morgan, Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, University of Bradford, England
  • Mesothelioma Prevention and Early Detection, Dr. Haining Yang, University of Hawaii Cancer Center

Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute Executive Director Clare Cameron (no relation to Dr. Robert Cameron) will speak on mesothelioma tissue-banking resources for researchers.

“I think patients and families especially will get a lot out of the symposium this year,” Clare Cameron said. “This could be our best symposium yet.”

Mesothelioma Conference Is a Learning Experience for All

Mesothelioma is the rare and aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. It is diagnosed in an estimated 3,000 people annually in the U.S. And while researchers made many advances in recent years, these breakthroughs reach the oncology community slowly, accentuating the need for the symposium.

Other clinical titles that will be discussed include:

  • Cryoablation in the Management of Recurrent Mesothelioma, Dr. Fereidoun Abtin, UCLA School of Medicine
  • Role of Immunotherapy in Advanced Pleural Mesothelioma, Dr. Thierry Jahan, University of California-San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • East-West Medicine Approaches to Cancer Therapy, Dr. Ka-Kit Hui, Centers for Integrative Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine
  • Harnessing the Full Potential of Immunotherapy by Targeting the Tumor Microenvironment, Dr. Raymond Wong, Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute

“The symposium is important because it’s a learning experience for everyone who comes,” Clare Cameron said. “There is still so much we can learn about this disease.”

Fluorescence Microscope Grant to Aid in Mesothelioma Research

img_4808This week The Pacific Mesothelioma Center was awarded a fluorescence microscope grant by the Kazan Law Foundation.  This microscope enables the PMC to reach greater depths in its mesenchymal stem cell research for mesothelioma.  Lead PMC Researcher Raymond Wong PhD states “This grant significantly improves the functional capability of The Pacific Mesothelioma Center lab.  We now have an additional tool for our researchers to leverage for continuing our work on next-generation immunotherapies for mesothelioma and also other solid cancers.”

Microscope to Aid in Mesothelioma Research

Presently, The Pacific Mesothelioma Center (PMC) is engaged in groundbreaking research to develop next-generation immunotherapies. Our researchers have discovered an innovative approach to convert human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into potent immune-boosting treatments. These MSCs are harvested from healthy human donor placentas, the bone marrow of healthy adults, and even the bone marrow of mesothelioma patients undergoing surgery. The MSCs are purified in the PMC lab, cryopreserved, and re-thawed for research experiments as needed. Like blood donation products, each donated MSC specimen undergoes specific lab tests to ensure proper identification and quality. One MSC identification test that we employ at PMC utilizes a basic light microscope. We believe that the US FDA will eventually require MSC identification tests that utilize high-resolution fluorescence microscopes. This addition of a fluorescence microscope  increases both PMC’s functional capability and allows our researchers to utilize procedures necessary to advance novel MSC based immunotherapies to clinical trials for mesothelioma.

Model Fabio Returns as Celebrity Grand Marshal for the 4th Annual “The Greatest Escape” Motorcycle Ride for Mesothelioma Research

Fabiomodel18AMay 16, 2016 / LOS ANGELES, CA / The Pacific Mesothelioma Center (PMC) at the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (PHLBI) is thrilled to announce the fourth annual “The Greatest Escape” Motorcycle Ride, proudly presented by Worthington & Caron, P.C. The ride will be on July 24, 2016 starting at the Glendale Harley-Davidson and ending at Newcomb’s Ranch in la Canada. This annual event benefits victims of mesothelioma, a devastating form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos that is usually not diagnosed until decades after exposure and well into the later stages of the disease.

“The Greatest Escape” Motorcycle Ride will commence at 8:30 a.m. with registration at Glendale Harley-Davidson. The ride will officially begin at 10 a.m. Riders will cruise through the scenic LA Crest Highway and finish at the beautiful Newcomb’s Ranch in La Canada. Riders will be joined by Celebrity Grand Marshal Fabio, other celebrity riders and law enforcement officials. Gary Bryan, of the K-Earth 101 Morning Show, will bring his delightful blend of humor and candor as MC for the event at Newcomb’s Ranch.  Participants will enjoy a BBQ lunch, refreshing Worthy Brewing craft beer, a concert by Cherry & the Bulldogs, vendors, and an opportunity drawing with prizes valued at thousands of dollars.

The motorcycle ride originated as a tribute to “The Great Escape” movie, starring actor Steve McQueen, who died of mesothelioma. Since its inception, hundreds have gathered each year to honor those who fought valiantly against mesothelioma, encourage those who remain undeterred in their present battle, and to raise money for research.

“’The Greatest Escape’ is a unique and fun event that brings people from all backgrounds together to have a wonderful time and make a difference in mesothelioma research,” said Roger Worthington, of Worthington & Caron, P.C. “Every year the momentum continues to build and we’re proud to have had the opportunity to sponsor this event since its inception in 2013. I’m also excited to sponsor the craft beer this year and for the SoCal debut of Worthy Brewing Company, based in Oregon.”

The event is open to all, riders as well as non-riders who simply want to join the fun.  The registration fee is $40 for riders and $30 for passengers who register online by July 23, 2016. Riders who register online will receive five free opportunity drawing tickets. On-site registration is $45 for riders and $35 for passengers. The fee includes a ride pin, bandanna, lunch, entertainment and parking. For non-motorcycle riders tickets are $25 for lunch, entertainment and parking. To register, visit www.TheGreatestEscape.org. To sponsor this event, contact Clare Cameron at (310) 478-4678 or email ccameron@phlbi.org. All proceeds will go towards mesothelioma research and improving the quality of life for victims of mesothelioma.

4th Annual 5K Walk for Meso Raises Over $100,000!

By: Christina McSherry

The Pacific Mesothelioma Center at The Pacific Heart Lung and Blood Institute held its 4th Annual 5K Walk/Hike for Meso on Sunday September 27th at The Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills. This annual event, presented by Worthington and Caron, drew over 300 walkers and raised over $100,000. The money raised will be used to fund research for malignant pleural mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer that approximately 3,000 individuals in the U.S are diagnosed with each year.

4th Annual 5K Walk for Meso Raises Over $100,000!

The morning started a little before 6:00 a.m. when tents started to be erected and signs hung showcasing the event. The air, expected to be humid in a matter of an hour, was crisp and the rising sun reflected beautifully across The Old Western Town buildings at The Paramount Ranch. Volunteers entered this scenic and iconic set around 7:30 a.m. to the eerie howls of coyotes in the hills retreating to their dens as they began arranging chairs and organizing t-shirts.

Once registrants started to arrive the atmosphere mood shifted suddenly from that of an event setup to one of a mini reunion of sorts. Families sought out other family members, friends looked for each other, and teams congregated outside the Pavilion at the ranch. Many are returning walkers, inspired to walk to honor a family member or friend afflicted with mesothelioma or one who has sadly since passed from the disease. They return because they want to help raise funds for the innovative research and patient services at The Pacific Mesothelioma Center led by Dr. Robert Cameron, in the hope that a cure for mesothelioma will one day be discovered. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer that receives a disproportionate level of funding and research to that of more common cancers, hence the importance for these fundraising walks.

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After walkers received their blue walk/hike for Meso T-shirts they assembled into their teams and began a preliminary stretch before the walk led by Team Drenched. At 10 a.m.  the walk began with a majority of teams and walkers heading towards the 5K walk and a number of other walkers, determined to walk in some capacity, headed towards the 1K course. Everyone picked up a cooling necktie which was generously donated by the Johnson family and Fightmesothelioma.org.  As they headed out,  the sun rays were strong and relentless offering little respite to any who might seek it. Teams encouraged each other and remained resilient invigorated by their reason for walking.

For those who could not walk but were there to support the event a Bingo game was started by volunteer and huge PMC supporter, Rosemarie Ganoe inside the Pavilion.  While the teams were walking they passed pictures commemorating those who bravely battled mesothelioma and have since passed. They also passed information cards listing facts about mesothelioma and asbestos. Walkers began returning around 10:40 and were presented with medals by volunteers to honor their accomplishment. There was a short quiz from the course questions, and the first ten people who answered all questions correctly won AMC movie passes.

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234As the morning progressed and all of the teams returned a delectable lunch was served by Ottavio’s Italian Restaurant. This cause is very close to the Belvedere family, having lost  Ottavio Belvedere to the disease years ago. They graciously catered the event serving pasta, chicken parmigiana, salad, and rolls to a hungry crowd of walkers in need of nourishment! Around the Pavilion were vendors such as Mike’s Mustache Italian Ice and Worthy Brew Beer showcasing their Oregon brand for the first time in California.  Delicious macaroons donated by Duverger were served to the crowd many of whom were eager to try a variety of flavors offered!

 

The morning rolled into the afternoon and soon the event festivities began. The Red Mutts, a rock n’ roll band , performed some tunes for the lively crowd while  honorary mayor of Woodland Hills, Dennis Zine acted as emcee thanking the teams for their hard work and keeping the crowd entertained with his quips and humorous jesting. Clare Cameron thanked the sponsors and the volunteers, and Dr. Robert Cameron, gave an encouraging update of research at the PMC.  Six year mesothelioma survivor Terry Latham. Latham brought many in the crowd to tears with his inspiring story of struggle and resounding hope throughout his six year battle with mesothelioma. He has kept his cancer at bay with the help of Dr. Cameron and spoke of his moments of trials and triumphs throughout his journey.

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325The opportunity drawing and silent auction began soon after the speeches were over. A priceless guitar signed by Randy Jackson and donated by the Jarvis family was auctioned off to the highest bidder. The opportunity drawing started and roused the crowd as many checked to see if they had won prizes varying from restaurant gift certificates, getaways, gift baskets, and jewelry. After the opportunity drawing ended attendees clutched their Powerball tickets, hoping for a higher measure of luck for this next drawing! The Powerball included prizes such as a two night stay at the luxurious SLS Hotel, a diamond and silver pendent donated by Captain’s Treasure Chest, and a weekend stay at The Chardonnay Lodge in Napa Valley.  When the final Powerball was drawn some despondent revelers turned to their neighbors and laughed about their misfortune and without missing a beat declared that next year would be their winning year!

The 4th Annual Walk for Meso would not have been such a success without the participation and support of our walkers, our sponsors (including our presenting sponsor Worthington and Caron), and any and all who volunteered their time, services, and help for us to put on the best walk/hike so far.  We are delighted to see how much the event has grown over the last few years with more walkers joining and a higher amount being raised each year. We enjoyed seeing a mixture of old and new faces and look forward to seeing everyone there for next year’s walk!

 

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