Free Mesothelioma Information Packet

Joseph S. Friedberg M.D.

  • Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery
  • University of Pennsylvania Health System-Penn Presbyterian Medical Cancer
  • 51 North 38th Street
  • Philadelphia
  • PA
  • 19106
  • 215-662-9195

Dr. Joseph S. Friedberg graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received his Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School where he graduated Cum Laude. He trained in General Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also trained, specializing in Thoracic Surgery, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is board certified in General Surgery and Thoracic Surgery. Currently, Dr. Friedberg is the chief of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Health System-Presbyterian. He heads the PMC Thoracic Research Laboratory and has extensive experiences with laser treatments and photodynamic therapy. He also is the head of many investigational trials to develop treatments of advanced cancers and malignant mesothelioma and has been involved in the development of a lung cancer vaccine. Many of his funds come from the Donald L. Perry Foundation, which allows for new and innovative research programs. In recent years the foundation has been funding the Presbyterian Medical Center at the University of Pennsylvania in the study of Photodynamic Therapy use in the late stage of lung cancer.

The Photodynamic Therapy involves using Photofrin, a non-toxic agent which is injected in the patients prior to surgery. This causes the cancer cells to become sensitive to light and then a laser can be used on these cells thus killing the cancer and limiting the damage to surrounding tissue. The research has expanded to look at rare earth phosphors, non-toxic minerals that can be enhanced to absorb light at varying wavelengths. Dr. Friedberg has also researched the use of filling the lung with a refractive liquid to better deliver light to lungs. His use of photodynamic therapy has also led him to research which surgery works better for those that use a multimodality approach combining photodynamic therapy and an operation for malignant pleural mesothelioma. His findings have shown that the extrapleural pneumonectomy allows for fewer surgical complications and a better quality of life after. He is a proponent of using video thoracoscopic procedures and minimally invasive approaches to cancer surgery. The use of video thoracoscopic procedures cuts down operation time and allows for better control of effusion. Dr. Friedberg’ research has also led him to understand the importance of the bronchoscopy and laparscopy as mandatory components of the pre-operative stage.

  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Cancer. Physician Profile.

Last modified: December 24, 2010.