Specialists providing care at the University of Pittsburgh’s Mesothelioma Speciality Care Center understand that mesothelioma affects each patient differently. Because of this, they work in collaborative teams to tailor treatment plans to every patient’s specific diagnosis.
They also understand that an accurate diagnosis is the foundation for effective treatment. In addition to being experts with traditional diagnostic procedures, like the paracentesis and thoracentesis, specialists at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center employ several cutting-edge diagnostic techniques.
Included among these techniques are procedures guided by imaging technology, like the endoscopic ultrasound, and minimally invasive surgery assisted by video, like video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).
Mesothelioma Virtual Bank: An Invaluable Research Tool
The University of Pittsburgh is one of the few institutions in the United States that participates in the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank (NMVB), an online database containing detailed data on tissue, blood and DNA samples of past mesothelioma patients.
The NMVB is an invaluable resource for mesothelioma research because it provides information necessary to help researchers develop new treatments and move closer towards a cure for this rare disease.
The program code for the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank was written and developed staff working at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
A Versatile, Comprehensive Treatment Program
The treatment program at the Mesothelioma Speciality Center brings together a variety of specialists to provide the best care for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Surgeons working within the Mesothelioma Specialty Center are well-versed in standard treatment methods, including the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) and multimodal therapies, like cytoreduction with HIPEC.
Specialists here are also experienced in the use of non-surgical mesothelioma treatment and have combined the latest imaging technology with radiation therapy to maximize its effectiveness.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) with 4D Computed Tomography
IMRT is a method of delivering radiation therapy that reduces the side effects caused by the beams of radiation used to target mesothelioma tumors.
Standard radiation therapy uses beams that travel in straight lines. Because mesothelioma tumors are often spread out and uneven, standard radiation beams often accidentally come into contact with healthy tissue surrounding a tumor.
However, the intensity of the beams delivered via IMRT can be adjusted according to the size and location of a tumor. Adjusting the intensity of the radiation beam greatly reduces accidental contact with the healthy tissue surrounding a tumor, reducing side effects caused by the radiation.
4D computed tomography (CT) allows specialists to have even more control over radiation therapy. An image generated by a 4D CT scan can capture the movement of a patient’s organs over time. This feature is extremely useful during the treatment process because a tumor – the target of the radiation beam – moves along with the lungs as the patient breathes.
Using 4D CT, specialists can track the movement of a tumor as the patient breaths and apply the radiation beam in an accurate, safe manner.
New Treatments Testing in Clinical Trials
Mesothelioma patients who receive treatment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center can also access clinical trials through the University’s Cancer Institute. Clinical trials offer patients a wider range of treatment options that would otherwise not be available via the Mesothelioma Specialty Center.
Researchers are currently recruiting for a clinical trial testing a combination of chemotherapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and immunotherapy for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma. The aim of the study is to find out how effective the drug combination is in stopping the mesothelioma from returning after cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC.
Choosing the Right Cancer Center
The specialized, collaborative treatment offered by the Mesothelioma Specialty Center at the University of Pittsburgh makes it one of the top mesothelioma facilities in the country.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our Patient Help Team can assist you in getting treatment from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, or another top treatment facility.