International Mesothelioma Program (IMP)
The International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) was founded in 2002 by renowned mesothelioma surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker. Its focus is to provide access to quality, multidisciplinary care for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The IMP is part of a network of top-tier mesothelioma treatment programs in Boston, including the renowned Brigham and Women’s Division of Thoracic Surgery and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Thoracic Oncology Program.
As a Harvard Medical School Teaching affiliate, the IMP also plays a role in exposing future health care providers to mesothelioma, a rare disease not many doctors have a chance to treat. Spreading knowledge about mesothelioma throughout the growing medical community will help increase the number of doctors who can properly provide treatment for mesothelioma in the future.
Specialists working within the IMP are also involved heavily in research that is pushing the limits of mesothelioma treatment. Currently, they’re working on improving standard mesothelioma treatments, like surgery and chemotherapy, and developing new therapies that can make a positive difference in the prognosis of mesothelioma patients.
Researchers at IMP have access to excellent tools to make these breakthroughs. Brigham and Women’s has kept a tumor bank since 1992 containing samples from over 600 mesothelioma tumors. The purpose of this bank is to provide researchers readily available samples that they can use to closely study the genetics of mesothelioma in a laboratory setting.
In addition to furthering mesothelioma research, specialists at the IMP are also focused on preventing mesothelioma and getting treatment to areas of the world with the highest rates of the disease. They take a detailed look at each and every patient’s exposure history to identify all potential risk factors that contributed to their diagnosis. With this information, they maintain a database used to help identify areas of the world most in need of cancer treatment centers.
Home of the Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP)
During his tenure at Brigham and Women’s, Dr. David Sugarbaker developed the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), a successful, life-saving surgery for patients with pleural mesothelioma.
Although Dr. Sugarbaker is now head of the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine, surgeons at BWH are well versed in this very difficult surgery and BWH is still one of the best treatment centers to receive an EPP.
Top Mesothelioma Surgeons
BWH is the home of some of the best thoracic surgeons in the country, each one an expert in the treatment of pleural mesothelioma. The IMP hosts a multidisciplinary team that emphasizes a minimally invasive, multimodal approach to mesothelioma treatment.
Dr. Bueno is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s and Director of Photodynamic Therapy Program. He is currently conducting a study focused on understanding how mesothelioma functions at a molecular level.
This research will help doctors create treatment methods that are better able to attack mesothelioma.
Dr. Lebenthal is one of the foremost experts in minimally invasive surgery for patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. One of his main focuses as an advocate of minimally invasive surgery is teaching camera-assisted surgery to his peers.
He is also the head of the mesothelioma program at the Boston VA, providing care to veterans afflicted with service-connected mesothelioma.
Apart from excellent, top-rated surgery, BWH offers patients access to the best outpatient services in the country through its partnership with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This partnership allows patients to see all of their specialists in a single visit.
Choosing the Right Cancer Center
Specialists at BWH have the experience necessary to provide the best treatment for patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Additionally, it houses the IMP, the largest program of its kind in the world and consults over 300 mesothelioma patients a year. BWH has helped many patients beat their dire mesothelioma prognosis and become survivors who live on to tell their stories of hope.