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Experimental Strategies in Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Paul Sugarbaker, MD, Washington Cancer Institute

Dr. Sugarbaker was raised in the mid-west. His elementary and high school education was in Jefferson City, Missouri. He attended college at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He graduated from Cornell University Medical College and went from there for his surgical training to the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. This is the Harvard University Program in Surgery. Here, he studied with Francis Daniels Moore, MD and went on to become the Arthur Tracy Cabot Fellow in Surgery at Harvard. He received in 1983 a Masters Degree in Immunology by studying tumor immunology at the Harvard School of Arts and Sciences. He was at the National Institutes of Health as a Senior Investigator from 1976 to 1986. After three years in Atlanta at the Emory Clinic he moved back to Washington, DC to become the Director of the Washington Cancer Institute. After a little more than three years at this position he became Director of the Program in Peritoneal Surface Oncology at the Washington Cancer Institute. He holds that title until the present time.

Currently, his clinical and investigative work is directed at the peritoneal surface component of cancer. His interests are in gastrointestinal cancer especially appendiceal malignancy and peritoneal mesothelioma. Dr. Sugarbaker is a strong critic of current surgical tradition. He believes that major changes in the technology of cancer resection are necessary. Chemosurgery (cytoreductive surgery plus hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) are grossly underutilized by the practicing cancer surgeon. His theme, "It's what the surgeon doesn't see that kills the patient," summarizes the concepts behind his 850 publications in the oncologic literature.

H. Richard Alexander, MD, University of Maryland

Dr. Alexander is an internationally recognized surgical oncologist and clinical researcher. He treats cancer patients at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and is associate chairman for clinical research in the University of Maryland Department of Surgery. Dr. Alexander is recognized for developing innovative techniques to treat patients with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. His clinical research program has been instrumental in establishing that operative cytoreduction and intra-operative hyperthermic perfusion with chemotherapy is associated with durable clinical benefit. His laboratory is focused on identifying new therapeutic interventions based on elucidating the molecular profiles and cellular pathways that are activated in peritoneal mesothelioma.

Robert N. Taub, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Robert Taub is a medical oncologist and hematologist at Columbia Medical Center specializing in the diagnosis and clinical care of patients with malignant mesothelioma. Dr. Taub serves as director of Columbia's Mesothelioma Center, where he is developing combined chemotherapeutic and surgical techniques that are highly effective in combating mesothelioma, a terminal malignancy. Dr. Taub is exploring clinical trials involving multimodal treatment algorithms with a specialization in intracavitary chemotherapy for patients diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma and lung-preserving therapies for pleural mesothelioma. Dr. Taub works closely with the Columbia Comprehensive Cancer Center’s team of oncologists and the Department of thoracic oncology.

Dr. Taub’s extensive experience has led him to impress upon patients that even though one particular treatment regimen may not result in efficacy for a particular patient, there are others available, including experimental therapies. His work has been recognized and awarded by the Beth Israel Cancer Research Fund, the Mount Sinai Hospital, and the American Cancer Society. Throughout the course of his career he has worked in a number of areas including medical oncology, immunology, hematology, and internal medicine.

Edward Levine, MD, Wake Forest University

Edward Levine is Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Surgical Oncology Service. He is 1 of 6 faculty members of the Surgical Oncology Service. He received his medical degree at the Chicago Medical School in 1985. His residency in general surgery was as the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. He subsequently completed a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Illinois 1990-1992. After his surgical training, Dr. Levine joined the faculty at Louisiana State University in New Orleans where he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997. He joined the Wake Forest University faculty in August 1998 and was promoted to Professor in 2002. He has published over 175 scientific articles and book chapters.

Dr. Levine's clinical interests are related to general surgical oncology with a focus on mesothelioma, melanoma, sarcoma, breast and gastrointestinal malignancy. He is director of the Surgical Oncology Clinics, the multimodality breast clinic and the surgical oncology Conference (“Tumor Board”) for the Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Levine is a member of the Internal Advisory Board of the Wake Forest University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Levine is the principal investigator for approximately 25 current clinical/translational protocols and is committed to clinical/translational research. These involve the National Surgical Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) and the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) for which he is the institutional principal investigator. He is also the leader of the Wake Forest University program of Cytoreductive Surgery and Intraperitoneal Hyperthermic Chemotherapy for Peritoneal Carcinomatosis, which is the second largest such program in the western hemisphere. He is also the recipient of grants from the National Cancer Institute, Industry, and Cancer Center funding translational research involving the genomic analysis of solid tumors.

James Pingpank, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)

Dr. James Pingpank is a surgical oncologist and expert in treating peritoneal mesothelioma and other disorders of the abdomen / peritoneum as a member of the Surgical Oncology Division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). He has received board certification in both surgery and general surgery and specializes in using a combination of surgery and localized chemotherapy to treat this rare, and often difficult to treat, type of asbestos cancer. Dr. Pingpank has been involved with several clinical trials designed to evaluate new treatment options for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma and his writings have been published in a number of medical journals and publications including The American Surgeon and The Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Pingpank earned his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washinton D.C. In addition to a fellowship that he completed at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Dr. Pingpank also completed two residencies, one at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center located in Philadelphia and another in Connecticut at the University of Connecticut Health Sciences Center in Farmington. Prior to joining UPMC, Dr.

Pingpank served in the capacity of Head of Surgical Metabolism at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Maryland.

John Chabot, MD – Moderator, Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. John Chabot is the Vice Chair for General Surgery and Division Chief, GI/Endocrine Surgery at the New York - Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Dr.Chabot is responsible for the surgical management of patients with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. His current research involves the use of surgery, intraperitoneal chemotherapy and immunotherapy in treating peritoneal mesothelioma.


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Download here slides for Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, Dr. Robert Taub, and Dr. Edward Levine.


Experimental Strategies in Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Experimental Strategies in Malignant Mesothelioma

Raising the Bar in Mesothelioma Research

Discovery / Progress - Mesothelioma Research and the Dept. of Defense (DoD)

Palliative Care is Not a Dirty Word

National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank

Mesothelioma Legal Panel

Mesothelioma Genetics Project

Making the Case for Federal Funding for Mesothelioma - Briefing on Capitol Hill

Government Benefits: Know Your Options

Global Perspectives in Malignant Mesothelioma

Finding Spiritual Support

Updates on Clinical Trials and Standard Therapies

Q&A Panel - Experimental Strategies in Malignant Mesothelioma

Words: Friend or Foe

Complementary and Alternative Medicine Approaches

Advocacy 101

Advancing the Mesothelioma Mission