Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Release: Latest Round Of Grants Brings Total Mesothelioma Research To Over $3 Million

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation today announced thrilling news for all who care about eradicating the vicious disease. MARF has awarded nine new grants of $100,000 each for exciting research projects commencing in late 2005 aimed at curing mesothelioma ("meso"). Since 2000, MARF has now awarded 29 peer reviewed competitive grants totaling $2,899,925, plus another $285,000 in special projects. MARF has demonstrated increasing momentum in its awards and the pace of meso research as 18 of the grants, more than half of the total number, were awarded in the last two years alone.

Previous grants from MARF have generated significant progress in the fight against meso, creating new hope for those who suffer from the disease and those at risk of developing it. MARF grants have encompassed the spectrum of research from fundamental cancer science to diagnostic tools and advanced treatments. MARF has funded 11 projects doing genetic discovery, 2 projects supporting clinical trials, 1 radiation therapy project, 1 imaging investigation, 2 projects examining biomarker technology, 2 investigations into predictive genomics, 3 gene therapy studies and 7 immunotherapy investigations. From the 11 grants issued in the period 2000 to 2003, five have already produced published research papers in peer reviewed journals. Many projects are still pending publication.

MARF's scientific experts select the grant projects through a competitive bid process that involves strict review of the merits of the proposed project. Since 2000, MARF has reviewed 111 original, leading-edge and high quality grant applications from around the world. For each of the approved two-year projects, the researcher has agreed to MARF's strict budgeting and progress reporting requirements. MARF has been able to fund only the top 25% of the applications due to funding limitations, but generous contributions from MARF donors have allowed MARF to consistently increase the number of grants awarded each year.

This research is critically needed. Historically, research into the treatment of meso has been almost nonexistent. Meso is a severely painful, usually lethal cancer related to asbestos exposure. Industrial as well as domestic exposure to asbestos has put millions of Americans at risk. Hardest hit are U.S. veterans and workers who were exposed occupationally or in Navy ships and shipyards, but meso spares no one based on the color of their collar.

Toxic exposures to asbestos continue today. Hundreds of tons of pulverized asbestos were released into the air following the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Experts fear an outbreak of meso around New York in coming years. Charges have recently been filed against executives of W.R. Grace for knowingly concealing the danger of a Grace-owned mine in Libby, Montana, where hundreds have died of meso or other asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos-contaminated vermiculite from Grace's mine not only poisoned the town, but was shipped to over 200 processing facilities all around the U.S. It remains as attic insulation in up to 35 million U.S. homes and may be present as vermiculite filler in gardening soils across the nation. This is but one example of the countless asbestos containing products to which tens of millions of Americans have been exposed.

Efforts to ban the use of asbestos, while important, are clearly too little too late, making MARF's focus on researching a cure that much more critical. MARF's efforts to fill the research void over the last six years have been proven to bear fruit. MARF will continue to be in the forefront of the fight against meso until victory is achieved.

MARF is the national nonprofit organization whose mission is to eradicate mesothelioma as a life-ending disease. More information about the new grants as well as the previous grants issued by MARF is available at or by contacting MARF Executive Director Chris Hahn, 805-563-8400,, or MARF Communications Director Klaus Brauch, 714-969-1481,

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

CONTACT: Chris Hahn, Executive Director, +1-805-563-8400,,or Klaus Brauch, Communications Director, +1-714-969-1481,, both of Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

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