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Congress Funds Mesothelioma Study
Passing a bipartisan bill to benefit victims of the deadly asbestos cancer, mesothelioma, would be impossible to accomplish with such bitter rivalry on both sides of the aisle, but that is precisely what happened recently in Washington, D.C.
The drive for such congressional unity was the need expressed for several years by leading mesothelioma experts everywhere for a national registry to rapidly identify and enroll patients soon after they receive a mesothelioma diagnosis. Such registry would help patients and their families gain quicker access to data about the best treatments, referrals to clinical trials and other services, such as nutrition guidance and emotional support groups, and information about what major mesothelioma treatment centers might be close to where they live. Not only would a national registry benefit patients, but it could lead to a better understanding of the disease by doctors and scientists, which might bring quicker diagnoses and speedier development of new and improved treatments.
Several other national health registries, like those for Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, and cerebral palsy, are currently funded by Congress. These registries provide a documentation center for researchers to better track results of treatments, disease progression and best practices for each illness’s various strains and intricacies. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently provides a lot of important information about mesothelioma, and so does the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s “National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank”, but treatment outcomes can be more accurately tracked, and the synthesis of data would be vastly improved, by a national mesothelioma patient registry, according to David Weissman, director of the Respiratory Health Division at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services approved $100,000.00 in its 2019 appropriations bill, with which NIOSH has been directed to conduct a study that will determine the feasibility of a mesothelioma patient registry. It is part of a $1.2 million package that Congress awarded this year to the CDC to be devoted to mesothelioma research. Mesothelioma advocacy groups have been trying for years to get significant funds allocated for mesothelioma study and to establish a national patient registry.
The mesothelioma lawyers at Baron & Budd are grateful for the extraordinary development of a Congressional appropriation to fund a feasibility study for a national mesothelioma patient registry.