Mesothelioma treatment falls under the medical specialty of oncology, the study of cancer, in which exist many licensed and board-certified oncologists. However, because of how rare mesothelioma is, only a few will have ever seen a case of it. As a result, most general practitioners and oncologists are not knowledgeable enough about its diagnosis, progression, or treatment. That's why it is essential for a patient to be under the care of a surgeon or oncologist who is experienced in treating this condition. The following is a list of top mesothelioma doctors in America.
Dr. David Sugarbaker
A graduate of the Cornell University Medical School and board certified in thoracic surgery, Dr. David Sugarbaker has had a distinguished career on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, where he is a professor of surgical oncology. Currently, he holds a dual appointment at Harvard and as the chief of thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Sugarbaker currently leads a research team focused on diagnosing and treating malignant mesothelioma, considered one of the best in the nation.
Given this work and his success in applying several forms of treatment for one patient, Sugarbaker is regarded as one of the leading authorities on mesothelioma treatments. His research and expertise have been especially valuable to patients who had been told surgery was not an option for them.
Dr. Harvey Pass
A Phi Beta Kappa undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Harvey Pass received his medical degree from Duke Medical School. Currently, he is the founding director of the New York University Division of Thoracic Surgery. During his career in universities and research organizations -- such as the National Cancer Institute, where he was head of thoracic oncology for 10 years -- he has dedicated his practice and research focus to treating thoracic mesothelioma, lung cancer, and esophageal cancer.
While at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Michigan, Pass and his team made a significant medical breakthrough in the identification of osteopontin, a protein found at elevated levels in pleural mesothelioma patients. This discovery led to the development of a simple blood test as a screening method for individuals with a history of asbestos exposure. As a result, pleural mesothelioma could be diagnosed as early as Stage I or II, giving patients the best chance at treatment. Accordingly, he has pioneered the use of both experimental therapies and surgical procedures for mesothelioma and other thoracic cancers.
Dr. David Bartlett
After graduating from Rice University, Dr. David Bartlett received his medical degree from the University of Texas. After serving as a senior investigator in surgery at the National Cancer Institute, Bartlett became the chief of the division of surgical oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and professor of surgery. He has since dedicated his career to mastering surgical oncology. With that in mind, Bartlett has distinguished himself in the management of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. He has drawn attention for his work in treating tumors that most thought were inoperable, including those seen in malignant mesothelioma.
The highly-individualized treatment regimes he has designed have had a positive impact on survival rates in patients with these cancers. In particular, Dr. Bartlett contributed to developing a surgical procedure known as regional perfusion. This procedure allows a doctor to administer chemotherapy directly into the chest cavity. Not only does this avoid toxicity to the rest of the body, but it is helpful for patients who were told chemotherapy would not work for them.
Dr. Larry R. Kaiser
The author or co-author of more than 300 scholarly publication and 13 books, Dr. Larry R. Kaiser received both his undergraduate and medical degrees from Tulane University. His most recent appointment is as the dean of the Temple University School of Medicine in Texas and CEO of the Temple University Health System. Kaiser is now recognized as one of the leading thoracic oncologists. In pursuit of excellence in thoracic surgery for cancer patients, Kaiser helped develop video-based lung surgery and patented a set of instruments used in the procedure.
His practice, research, and expertise are centered on malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and tumors in the chest. As such, Kaiser is involved with developing state-of-the-art treatments, such as gene therapy, for mesothelioma patients. Through his research, Kaiser has concluded that somatic gene therapy creates a system that kills tumor cells.