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Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

The Mayo Clinic started in Rochester, Minnesota as a result of collaboration between three doctors — a father and two sons — and has developed into a worldwide leader in medical care. Today, the Mayo Clinic is known for its expertise in all kinds of cancer care, including asbestos cancers.

The Mayo Clinic has locations in Jacksonville, Florida and Phoenix as well, with more than 32,000 employees at the main campus alone. One of the unique aspects of Mayo is that it is a non-profit. While this doesn’t mean the hospital does not make a profit, it is not the main goal. In addition to patient care, the Mayo Clinic is focused on research and education.

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester is known to treat up to 20,000 cancer patients a year. It’s among the few cancer centers nationally that has been certified by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). That means it has met the stringent guidelines and standards set by the NCI. The Mayo Clinic is ranked No. 3 in the nation for patient care in the U.S. News & World Report.

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Some of the renowned leaders in asbestos-cancer treatment work or have worked at Mayo. Some of the current staff physicians are focused on treating and researching the disease:

  • Dr. Stephen Cassivi - Cassivi focuses primarily on thoracic surgery in both his clinical work and research. His focus includes minimally invasive thoracic surgery.
  • Dr. Henry Tazelaar - Tazelaar has heavily researched many types of pulmonary disease, including lung and pleural disease. His goal is to help pathologists better diagnose a disease for faster treatment.

Mayo Clinic Clinical Trials

One of the major components of Mayo is the focus on ongoing research projects. One groundbreaking study undertaken by Mayo researchers looked at a popular treatment for pleural mesothelioma, called the extrapleural pneumonectomy. Researchers reviewed the case files from 285 patients who underwent the controversial operation that removes a diseased lung and surrounding tissue. The study found that the overall three-year survival rate was only 14 percent, which has caused many physicians to rethink the procedure.

Other research projects look specifically at helping asbestos cancer patients with new medications or processes. One uses a converted virus to carry radioactive iodine to specific cells and the other creates new uses for an existing medication. The Mayo is known for getting significant grants to fund these types of innovative research projects. While these research projects are ongoing, others have been launched as well in an effort to stop the growth of asbestos-related cancers.

At the same time, Mayo physicians are also starting clinical trials that will help patients in the future. In one such trial that will be beginning shortly, researchers are using a modified measles virus strain to deliver genetically modified genes to kill the mesothelioma. Another is looking at the genetic link between exposure and some mesothelioma patients.


Mayo Clinic. Cancer Center. Retrieved from http://www.mayo.edu/research/centers-programs/cancer-research/3-sites-1-comprehensive-cancer-center

Schipper, PH, et al. “Malignant pleural mesothelioma: surgical management in 285 patients.” Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18154820