A Leading Mesothelioma Research Center
The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCC) is one of the largest cancer centers in the United States and a leader in developing new treatments. Its research programs center around advancing the study of cancer, focusing on topics ranging from its genetic makeup to cancer immunology.
In addition to their detailed, ongoing study of the disease, researchers at UCCCC also conduct research on populations affected by cancer. Population research helps doctors gain a better understanding of the genetic reasons that cause cancers like mesothelioma to develop within a certain population. Understanding the genetic risk factors involved in the development of mesothelioma allows specialists to develop new treatments that can potentially prevent it from occurring in future.
Among the research breakthroughs accomplished at UCCCC, one in particular is especially important for the treatment of mesothelioma. In 2002, Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang discovered that the combination of the chemotherapy drugs pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin produced longer survival times in patients with pleural mesothelioma.
As a result of Dr. Vogelzang’s research, pemetrexed (Alimta) was specifically approved by the FDA for the treatment of mesothelioma. The combination of Alimta and cisplatin is now considered one of the most successful chemotherapy treatments for the disease.
With such a successful research record, it’s no surprise that UCCCC’s top-rated Mesothelioma Program is rooted in clinical trials and the development of cutting-edge treatments, all designed to extend the life expectancy of patients diagnosed with this rare disease.
Research-Focused Mesothelioma Treatment Program
The main goal of UCCCC’s Mesothelioma Program is the development of treatments that can transform mesothelioma from a life-threatening cancer into a manageable disease. To accomplish this, specialists working within the Mesothelioma Program are heavily involved in clinical trials research, where promising new approaches to mesothelioma treatment are developed.
UCCCC coordinates their clinical trials with drug manufacturers, top cancer treatment centers and the National Cancer Institute. Partnering with these entities allows researchers at UCCCC to work closely with a variety of medical specialists, and offer patients treatment options customized to their specific diagnosis.
UCCCC was also the first treatment center in Chicago to offer intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). This form of radiation therapy limits damage to healthy tissue caused by standard radiation therapy. It accomplishes this by changing the intensity of the radiation beam as it targets the area affected by the cancer.
Top Mesothelioma Specialist Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler
UCCC is home to Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler, one of the most well-known peritoneal mesothelioma specialists in the country. Dr. Kindler is heavily involved in the development of new mesothelioma treatments in clinical trials, managing several studies herself.
One of her studies focuses on the effectiveness of the immunotherapy drug erlotnib as a treatment for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma. Erlotnib has the potential to become a very effective treatment for patients with any stages of peritoneal mesothelioma because it can slow or stop its metastasis (spread) to other parts of the body.
Dr. Kindler is one of many specialists who are researching and developing this type of treatment, which is also known as immunotherapy, as another option in the fight against mesothelioma.
Choosing the Right Cancer Center
Not every cancer center houses cutting-edge research and has access to experienced specialists like Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler. UCCCC is among the select few cancer centers that can provide novel, effective treatment for patients with mesothelioma, especially for those diagnosed with the relatively rare peritoneal type.