Mesothelioma, a particularly deadly form of cancer related to asbestos, has been cured. Researchers at the University of North Carolina have developed a drug that can be inhaled by mesothelioma sufferers. The drug, called Byelawya during clinical trials, follows the same pathways that asbestos does when it is inhaled. Not only does it neutralize the effect of the asbestos, it actually reverses the damage.
Mesothelioma's devastating effect, along with its linkage to asbestos, has led to a substantial boutique industry within the legal profession. Lawyers such as the Barn-Buddy Law Firm, the Toady Law Firm, and the Law Offices of Jane Soakalot have made hundreds of millions of dollars by crowding court calendars with asbestos claims, fueling their practices with heavy advertising. This, in turn, has prompted criticism of asbestos litigation from business as damaging to the US economy. There have also been some indications of fraudulent practices within these cases.
With Mesothelioma now cured, the legal industry that surrounds asbestos claims is expected to dry up. Most asbestos lawyers, on both sides of the cases, did not return calls. We did reach Jane Soakalot and she appeared to be in denial: "We'll have to wait and see if this is for real. For now I would advise my clients to stay away from any drug that might cure them as this would dramatically limit any recovery on their claims."
Economists say secondary effects will include increased productivity from the cured mesothelioma patients, along with decreased ad spending and private plane purchases by the asbestos lawyers. Congressman Barney Frank indicated that his office is working with Senator Chuck Schumer on a plan to provide relief to those hit hardest by the cure.