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UPCI Receives Award from Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation for Study and Treatment of Rare, Deadly Form of Cancer

PITTSBURGH, Mar. 7, 2011 – The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) recently was awarded $350,000 over three years from the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation to enhance the Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program at UPCI and the UPMC Cancer Centers.  

“We are incredibly thankful for the generous gift from the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation to expand our program, which will positively impact the lives of so many people diagnosed with mesothelioma and their families,” said David Bartlett, M.D., chief of the division of surgical oncology at the UPMC Cancer Centers.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the internal organs, and most commonly affects the lungs and abdomen. Although rare, mesothelioma is diagnosed in more than 2,000 people each year, most of whom have had exposure to asbestos, a chief cause of this type of cancer. Treatment can include surgery to remove the lining of the infected organs, radiation and chemotherapy. Because mesothelioma can be difficult to control, researchers are working to find new treatments and refine the current treatment options.

Established in 2010 through a pledge from Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, a national law firm that has represented thousands of victims of mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease, the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation’s mission is to fund research, build awareness and advocate for those with mesothelioma. The foundation offers financial, volunteer and other resources to support medical experts and researchers in the pursuit of improved quality of life for mesothelioma patients.

“The Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation is excited to partner with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in this unique opportunity to further expand mesothelioma research and treatment options,” said Joy Wheeler, director of the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation. “We’re pleased to support UPCI’s efforts to lessen the burden of this terrible disease on patients and families across the country.”

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About the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

As the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in western Pennsylvania, UPCI is a recognized leader in providing innovative cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment; biomedical research; compassionate patient care and support; and community-based outreach services. UPCI investigators are world-renowned for their work in clinical and basic cancer research.

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