Treatment Centers

Mesothelioma Treatment Centers

The Galiher Law Firm has been helping victims of mesothelioma and other illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos for over 35 years. Over this time, we have become intimately familiar with the advances in the treatment alternatives for mesothelioma patients. We have seen firsthand that our country has the best institutions and cancer centers in the world. These facilities improve the quality of life of mesothelioma patients and conduct innovative and state of the art research to combat this devastating cancer.

These remarkable treatment facilities have helped many of our mesothelioma clients live longer, healthier lives. These facilities are continually conducting advanced research to help bring us closer to a cure for this terrible disease. We highlight below four treatment centers with which we are intimately familiar: The International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, The City of Hope, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Our mention of these fine institutions does not detract from the many other treatment centers which provide quality care to mesothelioma patients.

International Mesothelioma Program

The International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) is a world-renown mesothelioma treatment and research program. It is located at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded to offer cutting-edge and state-of-the-art treatment strategies to patents suffering from mesothelioma and to advance and coordinate research of asbestos-related cancer. Dr. David Sugarbaker, MD, who is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, founded the IMP and directs the program. The IMP’s treatment and research focus are multi-disciplinary. Oncologists, epidemiologists, pathologists, clinical researchers, occupational health specialists surgeons, biologists, statisticians, and pain and palliative specialists, are all focused on providing the best treatment modalities for patients. The ultimate goal of these specialists is to uncover a cure for mesothelioma.

The IMP essentially functions at three levels. Most importantly, the IMP exists to provide patients with the most up-to-date and cutting edge treatment. Second, a critical component to the IMP’s state-of-the-art treatment is the IMP Support Groups, which offer programs that provide compassionate assistance for patients and their loved ones. Finally, the IMP’s multi-disciplinary specialists collaborate on pioneering research that advances the science and understanding of mesothelioma and will lead to a cure for this deadly disease.

Surgery and Chemotherapy Drugs to Treat Mesothelioma

Over the years, Dr. Sugarbaker and the specialists at the IMP have developed a treatment protocol, which includes a regimen of chemotherapy drugs in combination with surgery. The surgery component of the protocol involves the removal of the visible mesothelioma tumor. As with other forms of cancer, the removal of the maximal amount of the tumor is the chief contributor to increased life expectancy.

Dr. Sugarbaker’s team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has developed a technique of administering chemotherapy following surgery that is designed to improve the overall effectiveness of the surgery. The team uses chemotherapy drugs in a heated bath, in which the drugs are administered to the patient’s chest cavity. The goal is to increase the demise of tumor cells. The IMP’s statistical research demonstrates that the surgery to remove the maximal tumor, in combination with the administration of intracavitary chemotherapy, has extended the lives of some of the IMP’s mesothelioma patients beyond the average life expectancies of persons afflicted with mesothelioma.

Scientific Research to Improve Patient Care

The IMP’s function and goal to pioneer research into this rare cancer results in a collaborative, team approach to cutting edge thinking about the disease. The IMP is set up to bring together researchers from many disciplines. These specialists aspire to understand everything about the progression and development of mesothelioma. They then translate their research findings into improved patient care. As an example, researchers have developed tests to enable medical clinicians to determine whether certain chemotherapy drugs help fight or are resistant to a patient’s tumor. Researchers have also developed promising and groundbreaking research, which involves a process for genetic pinpointing of mesothelioma cells. The identification of a specific DNA fingerprint relating to mesothelioma cells will not only foster the implementation of the most appropriate treatment plans for mesothelioma patients, but will have an impact for all cancer patients.

The IMP’s excellent reputation attracts great numbers of mesothelioma patients for treatment. In turn, this enables IMP researchers to conduct a variety of tailored clinical trials. Clinical trials are conducted to aid in the development of medical research and in the development of drugs to treat medical conditions. Although there are risks attendant to clinical trials, patients who qualify benefit from receiving otherwise unavailable treatments, which are in their early developmental stages. Currently, there is a promising clinical trial at the IMP to evaluate the efficacy of heated chemotherapy drugs. These drugs are administered post-surgery, after the lung or parts of the lung are surgically removed. In this trial, Gemcitabine, a chemotherapy drug is combined with Cisplatin, a more common chemotherapy drug currently in use. Researchers have found that Gemcitabine combined with Cisplatin has worked effectively treat abdominal malignancies. Continued research will hopefully demonstrate that the combination of Gemcitabine and Cisplatin will improve the condition of patients who undergo surgery for pleural mesothelioma.

The IMP has a tumor bank that it established in 1992. The tumor bank, now over 20 years old, has been instrumental in advancing research into how and why mesothelioma develops, as well as aiding in the development of treatment strategies. The bank contains frozen tissue samples provided by over 600 patients who have suffered from malignant pleural mesothelioma. Researchers have examined these tissue samples, and continue to do so. From the research, scientists have generated complex genetic and genomic studies. These scientists have discovered advanced diagnostic tools, which distinguish pleural mesothelioma and other tumors at molecular levels. The tumor bank has also allowed scientists to undertake the painstaking work of identifying the molecular markers of malignant mesothelioma.

Emotional Support at the IMP

Patients and their loved ones come to the IMP from all over the country and from all over the world. A diagnosis of mesothelioma is psychologically devastating to a patient and his or her family. The IMP recognizes that a patient’s physical well-being is often dependent on their emotional well-being. Consequently, the IMP has implemented comprehensive programs to provide emotional support for patients and their families. The IMP’s multi-disciplinary approach to research and treatment also extends to its focus on emotional support. Pastoral care, social work, and palliative care professionals strive to provide services that improve the quality of life and outlook for patients and their loved ones. Patients and their families also participate in group activities with other similarly situated people. Support groups allow for the sharing of experiences and permit families and patients to learn from and support each other. These activities are important because they provide coping skills and hope to patients and their families.

Dr. Sugarbaker has summed up the function of the IMP is seven simple words: “Quality life extension leading to a cure.” Over the years, the IMP has made many significant advances in mesothelioma treatment and research. Patients treated at IMP and by Dr. Sugarbaker have had their lives extended because of his surgical procedure and the care they have received. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you should consult with your treatment team or contact the IMP to see if treatment at this facility is the best option for you.

City of Hope

The City of Hope is a world-renowned mesothelioma treatment and research program, located at the Helford Clinical Research Hospital in Duarte, California. Duarte is a small Southern California city located northeast of Los Angeles. The City of Hope is an outstanding cancer treatment facility with a worldwide reputation for compassionate care and innovative scientific research. It is one of only 40 National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

For over 100 years, the City of Hope has provided patients with quality care. It is also a research facility that has been relentless in pioneering innovative strategies to combat cancer, including mesothelioma, and other life-threatening diseases. The City of Hope’s governing philosophy is that “compassion drives our innovation.” Each new discovery and newly developed treatment regimen give patients the opportunity to live longer and more quality-filled lives.

The City of Hope’s mission is to “care for the whole person.” Its facilities are a nationwide model for compassionate care. Professional services include specialists with expertise in palliative care, spiritual care, nutrition, education, psychology, pain management, and social work. Anxiety is the natural byproduct of a diagnosis of mesothelioma. The City of Hope’s professionals help patients and their loved ones cope with anxiety and depression.

MD Anderson Cancer Center

MD Anderson Cancer Center is located in Houston Texas on the Texas Medical Center campus. It also operates regional care centers throughout the nation. The MD Anderson Cancer Center was recognized in 2010 by U.S News & World Report as the nation’s #1 hospital for cancer care. MD Anderson is an institution that is devoted exclusively to cancer research, education, prevention, and above all, cares for cancer patients. It was founded in 1941 and, like the City of Hope, is a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center.

As befits its status, MD Anderson cares for over 100,000 cancer patients per year. People come from all over the nation to receive the quality care at MD Anderson. The Cancer Center’s exclusive focus on cancer care and research means that it has numerous experts who treat rare cancers, such as mesothelioma. In fact, there is a specific Mesothelioma Program at MD Anderson, which is currently directed by Dr. Anne S. Tsao, MD The Mesothelioma Program’s treatment team includes a range of experts, including chemotherapy and radiation specialists, thoracic surgeons, pathologists, pulmonary specialists, and researchers.

The National Cancer Institute awarded MD Anderson more research grants in 2010 than any other cancer center. More than $500 million was invested from the NCI and other sources for cancer research at MD Anderson in 2010 alone. Hundreds of clinical residents and other doctors regularly come to MD Anderson for specialized training. They train in the laboratories and serve as clinicians in the treatment of patients. Mesothelioma patients receive the highest quality of care and treatment at MD Anderson.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is located in New York City. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is among the world’s foremost cancer treatment and research centers. It is the nation’s oldest cancer hospital. Sloan-Kettering is committed to outstanding patient care and cutting-edge research. The institution melds patient care with state of the art research. It devises effective strategies for combating rare cancers, like mesothelioma, and works daily to ultimately find a cure for this deadly cancer and other cancers.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering unleashes a multi-disciplinary approach to treating mesothelioma. Its team of surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, and pulmonary specialists provide thoughtful and innovative care for victims of mesothelioma. Sloan-Kettering also offers patients and their loved ones a huge array of support programs. Counseling, peer support groups, nutritionists, psychologists, and spiritual therapists, are all available to aid patients and their families.

Galiher Firm is Heartened By The Dedication of the Professionals at Cancer Treatment Centers

Over the many years of representing mesothelioma patients, we have forged strong bonds with our clients and their families. We have seen the devastating physical, emotional and financial consequences this disease has for patients and their friends and families. Through our work, we have had the opportunity to interact with the researchers and the treating medical professionals of these great institutions, and we are encouraged by their dedication and unwavering commitment to helping their patients and our clients.