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Solbec announces pre-clinical study to confirm findings into the effect of Coramsine combined with CpG in the treatment of murine mesothelioma

3-Feb-2005 - Solbec Pharmaceuticals Ltd has announced the commencement of a pre-clinical study to confirm and extend the findings of an earlier investigation into the effect of Coramsine™ combined with CpG in the treatment of murine mesothelioma.
The study will be carried out by the Tumour Immunology Group at the University of Western Australia.

The study is comprised of four key experiments, The outcomes of the four (4) groups of experiments within the study will be used to inform decisions regarding any future clinical trials of Coramsine™/CpG in patients with cancer.

One of the four experiments has been designed to determine if the results are affected by background genetic factors. Combined treatment will be tested and compared to two strains of mice with different genetic backgrounds.

The study will also determine whether the immunological characteristics of the cancer will affect the ability of the therapy to induce remission or immunity. To do this, the combined treatment regime will be applied to mesothelioma in two different mouse strains and to malignant melanoma in one mouse strain. Melanoma is typically regarded as an immunogenic cancer that is able to provoke an immune response without additional immunotherapy, whilst mesothelioma is not.

An additional element of the present study, will involve preliminary quantification of appropriate measures of immune stimulation such as the T cell response to tumour antigens in patients treated with Coramsine™. This aspect of the study is to provide the researchers with the appropriate measures for monitoring immune activity during a subsequent clinical trial.

The CpG to be used in the study has been supplied by Hybridon Inc., pursuant to a material transfer agreement announced in December 2004.

It is anticipated that all experiments will be completed by June 2005.

Halliburton settles asbestos claims with families of local victims

By Maureen O'Hagan

Seattle Times staff reporter
February 03, 2005 - The Halliburton Company settled legal claims with about 120 families of asbestos victims in the Pacific Northwest this week, agreeing to pay out $30 million and to create a fund for future victims of the deadly fiber.

The local settlement was part of a $4.3 billion national settlement involving about 250,000 plaintiffs who had sued the company in connection with exposure to asbestos products distributed by Halliburton subsidiaries.

Matthew Bergman, attorney for the local families and one of seven lawyers involved in negotiating the settlement, said today that Dresser Industries, a Halliburton subsidiary, knew since the 1930s that asbestos was harmful, yet issued no warnings. Locally, asbestos products were widely used in shipyards, pulp mills and power plants.

Many of Bergman's clients worked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, he said. Some were civilian workers and others were sailors, some of whom remember sleeping in bunks beneath pipes insulated with asbestos, he said.

Charisse Dahlke's husband Dale started working in the Naval yard at age 18, and spent 25 years as an electrician before being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by asbestos. He died seven months later, in May 2003.

"It was everywhere," Dahlke, a Port Orchard mother of three, recalls her husband saying. "He even remembered some of the guys using it for snowball fights."

The men had no idea it was harmful. The disease can take decades to manifest. "The bad thing for me is they knew and they didn't tell people," she said.

Mary LaPointe's husband Dan was the son of a construction worker who often came home from work in clothes dusted with a fluffy white powder.

In high school and college, Dan LaPointe worked construction jobs, mostly handling insulation material. More than 25 years after first being exposed, Dan LaPointe was diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer, and died in 2000.

The lawsuits had hurt Halliburton investors financially. According to the New York Times, in one day in 2001, shares fell by more than 40 percent, to $12 a share, because of concern over asbestos liability. When the settlement was finalized, the company called it "good news" because it removed uncertainty about the company's future. Stocks today traded at about $41 per share.

Asbestos is no longer used at the Naval yard, however it is still used elsewhere in the United States. Sen. Patty Murray has been working on legislation to ban asbestos, but has been unsuccessful.

President Bush has urged legal reform related to asbestos, as well. In his State of the Union speech last night, the president said the U.S. economy has been held back by "irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims," and he urged Congress to pass reforms that would help limit such actions.

20 FELA suits claim asbestosis, silicosis

By Steve Gonzalez - Belleville Bureau
December 28, 2005 - Twenty asbestos cases were filed against Illinois Central Railroad in St. Clair County Circuit Court Dec. 22 by former workers who claim they have various asbestos-related illnesses.

The plaintiffs, represented by Daniel Francis of the Francis Law Firm in St. Louis, are all seeking damages under the Federal Employers' Liability Act. They claim they developed asbestosis or silicosis while employed in interstate commerce for the railroad.

According to the complaints, their injuries were caused by Illinois Central Railroad failing to:

Use ordinary care to provide them with a reasonably safe place to work;

Supply safe methods for work;

Supply reasonably safe equipment;

Supply reasonably sufficient help;

Exercise reasonable care to adequately warn them of the risks, dangers, and harm to which they were exposes in working with and around asbestos;

Require them to be exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos when they knew of the risks;

Warn them of the risk of asbestos exposure injuries; and

Modify or eliminate certain job duties, equipment or practices to minimize the levels of asbestos.

The plaintiffs claim that in the past and for an indefinite period of time in the future they experience pain, suffering, inconvenience, irritation and annoyance, and have become liable for medical expenses, treatment, and possible cure. They also claim lost wages, and the loss of general health, strength, vitality and ability to enjoy the various pleasures of life.

"The plaintiffs demand judgments in their favor and against ICR in a fair and reasonable amount in excess of the jurisdictional minimum of this court," the complaints state.

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