Tissue Banks:
Finding a Cure for Asbestos Cancers

While asbestos exposure has been known by the medical community (and industry) to cause cancers such as lung cancer and mesothelioma for many decades, there is still much more to be learned about how and why the diseases develop and grow.

With advances in medicine and technology, doctors now have the tools to diagnose asbestos cancers at an earlier stage, when the cancers are smaller and more localized. As a result, there is renewed hope that more effective treatments and even cures may be developed. One key way to develop these treatments is through research using the affected tumor tissue.

For years, it has been our practice to recommend that our clients with asbestos related diseases preserve their lung tissue for analysis by experts following a surgery or in many cases an autopsy. The analysis of this tissue has often been instrumental in proving that the disease was in fact caused by exposure to asbestos.

In addition, this information has contributed to the medical community’s understanding of the diseases. Experts in pathology (the study of disease through tissue) have published medical articles detailing the extent of asbestos exposure over a worker‘s lifetime, as well as those with “indirect” asbestos exposure like members of a worker’s household or others who have never worked in the building trades.

With our assistance in the summer of 2008, the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (formerly known as the Asbestos Workers’ Union) announced that it was sponsoring a tissue bank to assist with research in an effort to cure asbestos-induced lung cancer and mesothelioma.

The tissue bank will receive and house tissue donated by asbestos workers and their families who also have been stricken with asbestos-induced cancers. This tissue bank will contain various types of lung tissue and cancer tissue obtained from surgical procedures and autopsies.

The tissue bank will be located in, and administered by, the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, whose administrators will make the tissue available to researchers worldwide.

As Jim Grogan, General President of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers said, this tissue bank will lead to “a better understanding, better treatment options and a cure for asbestos-induced cancers.”

Tissue Banks

A National Tissue Bank will provide physicians and researchers with a valuable resource to treat and possibly cure asbestos-induced cancers.

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