Dr. Harvey Pass

Dr. Harvey Pass is a thoracic surgeon and leading pleural mesothelioma expert, involved in clinical trials finding new ways to diagnose and treat the rare cancer.

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Dr. Harvey Pass has been dedicated to conducting innovative research for pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer since the start of his career. His research in clinical trials to find groundbreaking ways to diagnose and treat mesothelioma, as well as his tenured experience as a leading thoracic surgeon has allowed Dr. Pass to help numerous mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. He continues his important research at the NYU Langone Medical Center as Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, as well as passing along his extensive knowledge to future thoracic surgeons as a professor of surgery.

Professional History

Dr. Pass has held many prestigious positions since beginning his medical career. Before beginning his tenure in New York City, Dr. Pass started his career as an assistant professor in the cardiothoracic surgery division at the Medical University of South Carolina. After some time teaching, Dr. Pass was accepted to a fellowship training program at the National Cancer Institute. Upon completion of the fellowship, he served ten years as the Head of Thoracic Oncology for the NCI. Dr. Pass also taught as Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland during the time of his fellowship.

After a decade with the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Pass moved to Detroit to lead mesothelioma research at the Karmanos Cancer Institute from 1996 to 2005. One of his most significant breakthroughs for mesothelioma research occurred during his time at Karmanos Cancer Institute, when his research team identified a protein (osteopontin) that presents at elevated levels in patients with pleural mesothelioma. The discovery allows doctors to use blood tests to diagnose pleural mesothelioma earlier in patients with a history of asbestos exposure. During this time, Dr. Pass was also part of a group that helped lead to the development of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

Today, he continues his important research in New York City. Dr. Pass is now the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the NYU Langone Medical Center, as well as Vice Chair of Research, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Dr. Pass also serves as Stephen E. Banner Professor of Thoracic Oncology and a professor in the department of surgery at NYU School of Medicine.

Clinical Interests and Research

During his extensive medical career, Dr. Pass has focused his research into distinct areas, like biomarkers for mesothelioma detection and surgical techniques to treat mesothelioma and various types of lung cancer. His interests have shaped the focus of his clinical trials and research.

Dr. Harvey Pass’s Medical Areas of Interest
  • microRNA
  • Proteomics
  • Thoracic oncology

Dr. Pass has made several important discoveries for mesothelioma during his tenured career in addition to identifying osteopontin as a means to diagnosing mesothelioma. Dr. Pass has focused his studies on discovering new potential biomarkers for lung cancer and mesothelioma to allow for early screenings of the disease and faster diagnosis.

He has also been at the forefront of developing new treatments for mesothelioma, including his involvement in studies for treatments like immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy. Among his most recent research, Dr. Pass is focused on genetic testing and sequencing in varying forms of lung diseases, as well as the efficacy of specific radiation therapies for patients with inoperable lung cancer.

Since 1998, Dr. Pass has also had his research continuously funded by the National Cancer Institute, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Defense for mesothelioma and lung cancer. He currently heads the ongoing Mesothelioma Pathogenesis Program Project, funded by the NCI.

As a result, Dr. Pass has published over 510 medical papers and contributed to numerous medical books, including 100 Questions & Answers about Mesothelioma. He currently serves as the editor for Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

Selected Publications

Progress in the Management of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in 2017. Journal of Thoracic Oncology. May 2018; 13(5): 606-623. doi: 10.1016/j.jtho.2018.02.021

Therapeutic potential of targeting S100A11 in malignant pleural mesothelioma. Oncogenesis. January 2018; 7(11). doi: 10.1038/s41389-017-0017-3

Extracellular signal regulated kinase 5 and inflammasome in progression of mesothelioma. Oncotarget. December 2017; 9:293-305. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.22968

Inhibition of the spindle assembly checkpoint kinase Mps-1 as a novel therapeutic strategy in malignant mesothelioma. Oncogene. November 2017; 36:6501–6507. doi: 10.1038/onc.2017.266

Diagnosis and prognosis—review of biomarkers for mesothelioma. Annals of Translational Medicine. June 2017; 5(11): 244. doi: 10.21037/atm.2017.06.60


Dr. Pass’s extensive research and contribution to the field of oncology has allowed him to be recognized with numerous awards for his work.

  • NIH Director’s Award – National Institute of Health
  • Wagner Medallion – International Mesothelioma Interest Group
  • Landon Research Award – American Association for Cancer Research
  • Pioneer Award – Mesothelioma Foundation
  • IASLC Merit Award – International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer