The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) has presented the Pioneer Award to Dr. Harvey Pass, a professor of surgery and the director of thoracic surgery and oncology at NYU’s Langone Medical Center. Dr. Pass has devoted much of his career to the search for effective therapies for malignant mesothelioma. The award was presented at MARF’s annual symposium, held in Washington, D.C. in late June of 2008. Dr. Pass is the former chair of MARF’s scientific advisory board, administering a large number of MARF’s grant funding for mesothelioma research. In addition to his work conducting field trials of mesothelioma treatments, Dr. Pass is credited with the development of osteopontin as a tool for early detection of malignant mesothelioma. To date, the only effective therapy for mesothelioma is surgery to remove the mesothelium (the thin layer of cells surrounding the heart, lungs, and abdomen) or the affected lung; few patients are able to take advantage of this surgery because in most cases the disease has progressed too far by the time it is diagnosed. Earlier detection is a key element in producing effective treatments for this deadly disease.
Dr. Pass is extensively published in the mesothelioma research, specializing in the molecular genetics of the condition. He is also the editor of two books on mesothelioma, “100 Questions and Answers about Mesothelioma” and “Malignant Mesothelioma: Advances in Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Translational Therapies.” The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization that partners patients, families, physicians, activists, and researchers around the goal of finding a cure for mesothelioma and stopping its spread. MARF has issued more than $5 million in research grants to date. In addition, MARF counsels families and patients affected by the disease, providing information on treatment, clinical trials, and medical referrals. More information about MARF can be found at the foundation’s website, www.curemeso.org.