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Weitz & Luxenberg Recognizes New Advance in Mesothelioma Treatment--Vinflunine successfully tested

December 17, 2007, New York, NY—Research hospitals in Europe have successfully tested a new anticancer drug, “Vinflunine” (pronounced VIN-floo-neen). The October 20th issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology featured the news that Vinflunine has been shown to improve response and survival rates in patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, according to Reuters.

Mesothelioma is a rare, deadly form of cancer that affects the inside lining of the chest cavity and is directly associated with asbestos exposure.

Of the promise Vinflunine could hold, Ben Darche, an attorney with the Asbestos Litigation Unit at Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., said, “We commend the medical advances being made by Dr. Denis C. Talbot and his colleagues. Through my work I have witnessed the emotional and financial suffering mesothelioma places on patients and their families. Any medical advance is no small miracle.”

Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., commends this recent medical advance and the doctors that achieved it. During many years of representing clients suffering from mesothelioma, Weitz & Luxenberg has seen first-hand the pain and suffering the disease has on victims and their loved ones. Most mesothelioma patients, for example, die within one year of being diagnosed. There is no known cure for mesothelioma.

Vinflunine was recently tested in Phase II clinical trials at hospital research centers in England and France. Dr. Talbot, from the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, and medical colleagues at seven European hospital centers, assessed the response rates of 67 patients who had not received prior chemotherapy or radiotherapy to determine the effectiveness of first-line Vinflunine treatment.

Doctors concluded that Vinflunine, when administered approximately every 21 days in high doses, improved patients’ response rates by 13.8 percent, and demonstrated such positive results that the drug therapy warrants further evaluation. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug for this condition, “Alimta,” which, when used in combination with cisplatin, has helped patients extend their lives by several months, according to the FDA.

About 2,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States every year, based on statistics from the National Cancer Institute. Current treatments are limited and usually include some form of surgery, combined with chemotherapy or radiation. The disease, which is often linked to industrial workplace exposure to asbestos, is usually contracted through employers’ disregard for health safety.

Weitz & Luxenberg specializes in the prosecution of asbestos-related work cases and has won many multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for victims’ families to help them offset medical expenses and compensate for suffering.Weitz & Luxenberg’s successes date back to 1991 with a historic consolidated trial involving men who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during and after World War II. Weitz & Luxenberg represented 36 clients in that case, securing a verdict of $75 million.

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