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Center seen as ally to Libby CARD

| April 14, 2004 12:00 AM

Libby has gained an important ally in the research of asbestos-related disease and the treatment of patients.

The National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers in Michigan will start a health screening program similar to what was done by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry in Libby.

The Michigan center is being started by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine affiliated with Wayne State University.

³This is actually very good,² said Pat Cohan, manager of the Center for Asbestos-Related Disease in Libby. ³We aren¹t territorial at all. We want to work together.²

And the Libby CARD has something nobody else in the world has, Cohan said, a large database of patients with asbestos-related disease.

Also, Dr. Harvey Pass, professor of surgery and oncology at the Karmanos Center, is working with an Australian doctor on developing an early detection blood test for mesothelioma.

³The trouble is we don¹t catch it (mesothelioma) until it¹s down the road and by then it¹s so devastating,² Cohan said.

The test could allow doctors to catch the disease while it¹s still treatable.

³If the grant for testing does go through on this, we will be drawing blood here,² she said. treatable, ³she said.

³The other thing that is good is that the more it gets out there and other people deal with it, then we¹re not out there alone,² Cohan said.