University of Pennsylvania Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program
The University of Pennsylvania Medical Center provides patients with state-of-the-art comprehensive care at the Abramson Cancer Center. Specialists spanning multiple disciplines including radiology, pathology, surgery and oncology work together to tackle a variety of complex and serious diseases. The Mesothelioma and Pleural Program at the cancer center is recognized for excellence in caring for patients with both standard mesothelioma treatments as well as protocols that are available only at the Harron Lung Center.
The collaboration of a team of experts in various fields is an essential aspect of care at the University of Pennsylvania. Led by a patient navigator, who coordinates appointments with the treating team and provides information to the patient and family, doctors and surgeons create a unique treatment plan for each mesothelioma patient. Clinicians at the cancer center provide an unparalleled level of expertise in mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment. Patients have access to thoracic oncologists who may perform lung tumor removal, medical oncologists who provide chemotherapy, radiologists who use advanced imagining techniques, and pulmonologists and pathologists who specialize in evaluating lung diseases.
Patients are offered the most innovative treatment plans and surgical techniques, in addition to promising clinical trials. The center supports an active research program that conducts clinical trials and helps translate critical findings into real-life treatment options. The research program, which focuses on lung cancer, mesothelioma and other related disorders, has made groundbreaking discoveries that have enhanced treatment alternatives for patients with this disease. Some of the researchers, for example, have been leading a global effort to create the first international lung cancer registry. The development of a worldwide registry would help affected individuals understand the disease better, especially in its early stages, when it is most receptive to treatment. Researchers have also been able to develop treatments in the laboratory for future application through the use of grants provided by the National Cancer Institute.
The Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program at the University of Pennsylvania is currently conducting several trials. These trials explore a range of options for treating mesothelioma including: (i) applying a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, (ii) administering an autologous tumor vaccine to target lung cancers, (iii) applying photodynamic therapy (PDT), which uses specialized drugs and light therapy to attack aggressive cancerous cells, and (iv) manipulating cells to boost the body’s immune response to mesothelioma.
The University is a national leader in the field of immunotherapy research. As the founder of the first gene therapy to receive FDA approval, the cancer center has been actively involved in studying the immune system’s ability to eliminate all cancerous cells. An immunotherapy treatment known as CAR-T cell therapy has been offered to patients to program each individual’s immune system to identify and destroy malignant cells in a variety of cancer types.
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