Throughout the country, a wealth of doctors have established themselves as mesothelioma experts, dedicating much of their practice to the study of the disease and the treatment of those who are suffering from this asbestos-caused cancer. Most of these medical professionals are located at some of the country’s best hospitals and cancer centers and it’s not unusual for mesothelioma victims to travel a large distance to meet with these doctors in hopes of becoming one of their patients.
In addition, several of these hospitals and cancer centers, located in various parts of the country, have established themselves as the optimal location for receiving mesothelioma-related care. These facilities are home to the aforementioned doctors and also boast some of the most state-of-the-art treatment options available to assist those afflicted with this cancer. These hospitals are also involved in cutting-edge clinical trials and research in hopes of finding new and better ways to treat the disease.
Dr. Harvey Pass
A renowned mesothelioma expert, Dr. Harvey Pass is the Director of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at New York University (NYU) Hospital. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Duke University Medical School, Pass was formerly employed at the prestigious National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he served as Head of Thoracic Oncology for 10 years. In addition to his responsibilities at NYU, Dr. Pass also oversees operations at the Bellevue Hospital Laboratory in NYC, home to the Mesothelioma Pathogenesis Program Project.
During his years at the Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit, Pass and his colleagues were responsible for locating and identifying a protein in the blood known as mesothelin. This protein is found at elevated levels in patients that were exposed to asbestos and this particular discovery aided in the development of the Mesomark® blood test, which – in some cases – can detect mesothelioma in its early stages. Pass continues to be involved in conducting research and clinical trials, particularly concerning the use of photodynamic therapy in the treatment of mesothelioma.
Dr. David Sugarbaker
One of the most well-known mesothelioma experts in the country, Dr. David Sugarbaker is the chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. A graduate of Cornell University Medical Center, Sugarbaker is also the founder and director of the International Pleural Mesothelioma Program, a research and clinical project that extends the world over and focuses on finding new and novel treatments for the disease.
Dr. Sugarbaker’s biggest contribution to the field of mesothelioma research has been his recommendation of the multi-modal approach to treating those with the disease. Sugarbaker promotes the use of extrapleural pneumonectomy (removal of the diseased lung and other areas around it) along with the use of chemotherapy and radiation, both before and after the surgery, if warranted. His approach has not only improved the survival rate for patients but has also resulted in the development of a new staging system for determining the severity of the disease for individual patients.
Dr. Valerie Rusch
Dr. Valerie Rusch, a graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, is Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Vice Chair for Clinical Research (Dept. of Surgery) at New York City’s famed Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. A member of Memorial’s staff since 1989, Rusch is considered one of the top mesothelioma experts in the country and is the most renowned woman in her field.
As a clinician, Rusch treats innumerable mesothelioma patients during the course of a year, and as a researcher, focuses her studies on the genetics of lung cancer and how patients will respond to a certain form of treatment. In addition, she has done extensive work concerning early detection of mesothelioma, which remains a concern and severely impacts the survival rate of those with the disease. Rusch also pens numerous articles about her research and has served as co-editor of the text book Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, which is widely used by medical professionals worldwide as a handbook for treating patients with asbestos-related cancer.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
One of 40 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S. and Canada, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is a renowned New York City institution that remains on the cutting-edge of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Boasting a large number of cancer specialists who are experts in their particular field, Memorial Sloan-Kettering attracts patients from around the world who come to NYC in search of the best treatment possible for their type of cancer, including mesothelioma.
Memorial treats mesothelioma with a multi-disciplinary approach to the disease, forming teams of mesothelioma experts that include thoracic surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, oncology nurses, and others, in hopes of offering the best care for each patient that enters the hospital for advice and treatment. In addition, this cancer center has compiled the most comprehensive database of mesothelioma victims in the U.S., tracking them and analyzing information that can assist in continuing studies concerning prevention and treatment.
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Founded in 1941 and located the University of Texas in Houston, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center quickly established itself as one of the leading cancer centers in the United States. As such, the hospital employs a number of medical professionals who are renowned in their field, including top mesothelioma experts who are employed at the facility’s Thoracic Care Center. Meso patients who come to M.D. Anderson may be provided with several options for treatment, which may include advanced and minimally invasive surgery techniques, proton beam radiation therapy, and access to the latest chemotherapy drugs. In addition, clinical trials testing new treatments for mesothelioma are constantly being conducted at this facility in hopes of finding ways to prolong the lives of asbestos cancer victims around the world.
Kansas Cancer Center
The University of Kansas Cancer Center (UKCC) is an academic institution that draws medical professionals, including mesothelioma experts, from a number of different area institutions including University of Kansas Medical Center and The University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, The University of Kansas in Lawrence, the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita, and the Midwest Cancer Alliance. The hospital is currently vying for Comprehensive Cancer Center designation. UKCC, one of just a few cancer centers in the Midwestern U.S., is at the forefront of patient care and research, and mesothelioma patients who travel there for treatment are seen by a multi-disciplinary group of specialists who come together to devise the best plan of care for each patient, which may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and/or participation in clinical trials testing new drugs for mesothelioma.
- American Medical Association
Last modified: December 24, 2010.