Call for government funding for mesothelioma research centre.

1st February 2009

Mesothelioma sufferers will gather on Friday, February 27 to call for the government to invest millions in research to treat the devastating asbestos related disease, Mesothelioma is the least researched of the top twenty cancers. On Action Mesothelioma Day on Friday 27th February mesothelioma sufferers, their families and friends, MPs and doctors and nurses will gather in cities throughout the UK. They will release doves as an act of remembrance of all those who have died from the disease and as a sign of hope for all current and future mesothelioma sufferers.

They will call on the government to provide funding for a National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease to keep the UK in line with other western countries. In Australia the Government has provided $6.2 million Australian Dollars to fund a National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease. Sufferers are asking the UK government to match this funding – around £5 – 10 million – to provide a similar centre here.

On the 27th February, an international conference will discuss advances in the treatment of mesothelioma. John Edwards: Consultant Thoracic Surgeon and Chair of the British Mesothelioma Interest Group speaking at the conference says: “Researchers are desperate for funds to develop life saving treatments – mesothelioma is far and away the least researched of the top twenty cancers in the UK. Funding for a UK National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases is a priority. Such a virtual institution would encourage collaboration between current and future researchers and stimulate trans national research to generate future treatments to prolong and save lives.”

John Willett, who suffers from mesothelioma says:

“As far as I am concerned, the Government, which was my employer, has signed my death warrant. Government, employers, and the enforcement agencies failed to protect myself and thousands of others from exposure to asbestos. The very least they can do now is to support research into this terrible disease.”

Tony Whitston: Chair – Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum – UK

“In the US, mesothelioma has been given research priority to bid for mesothelioma research projects from the defense research budget in recognition of the thousands of veterans exposed to asbestos in service and in naval shipyards. In Australia, the government has given $6 million to fund a research centre. Society has a moral obligation to stand by those who have lost their health and their lives in creating this country’s wealth.”