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University of Chicago Cancer Center

Since its inception in the late 1920s, The University of Chicago’s Cancer Center has distinguished itself as a world-class cancer center, making major medical breakthroughs, including one that has helped mesothelioma patients live longer.

For more than 25 years, the cancer center has been dedicated to studying asbestos-related cancers. It is one of the few programs in the country dedicated to asbestos-related cancers. In 2002, the hospital’s researchers found that two medications combined, cisplatin and pemetrexed, helped pleural mesothelioma patients live longer and more pain free.

The hospital has many medical experts who are focused on studying the disease, including doctors, nurses and researchers. There is also a team of social workers on staff to help patients and families. They collaborate to work through each patient’s individual case.

The hospital is designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. This means it has achieved the highest standards of excellence in all areas of medical services and understands the subtleties of mesothelioma and the treatment.

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Dr. Ravi Salgia - As part of the center’s mesothelioma team, Salgia is working to create better cancer drugs. He is involved in research that looks at individual cell biomarkers and other biological components of individual cells. This could someday help predict which patients are more likely to develop the disease. In another research project, Salgia is utilizing tiny worms called C. elegans to create personalized cancer treatments. He has implanted human cancer mutations in the worm to observe the effects. This allows him and his researchers to determine which genes are better drug targets.

Research and Clinical Trials

There are also an abundance of ongoing scientific research in the field of asbestos-related cancer, including those that are testing the most modern medical advances for disease control and eradication.

The hospital’s Upper Aerodigestive Cancer Risk Clinic is aimed at helping patients who are at high risk of several types of upper digestive tract cancers, including mesothelioma. The clinic utilizes the latest screening and early detection methods and helps develop research.

Specialists at this Facility

One of the outstanding aspects of the center’s program is the physicians who head up the team approach.

Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler - Known worldwide as an expert in asbestos, pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancers, Kindler has helped make some groundbreaking discoveries in the field. This includes heading up a committee that is responsible for designing and overseeing new medications for asbestos-cancer treatment.

In the past years, Kindler has contributed to more than 80 scholarly journals, many specifically related to the treatment of asbestos cancer. She is the director of The Mesothelioma Program at the University of Chicago Cancer Center.

Kindler started her focus on asbestos cancer partly because her father died as a result of the cancer in 2001. She has said that she likes to focus on patients because they deserve the best possible medical care. She sees more than 100 asbestos-cancer patients a year. She underscored the need to have a physician who risk reduction and prevention plans.

Everyday, the hospital has hundreds of clinical trials ongoing for dozens of types of cancer including mesothelioma. This includes trials that are looking at new medications and technology to treat the disease.


The University of Chicago Medicine. Mesothelioma. Retrieved from http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/cancer/mesothelioma/

The University of Chicago Medicine. Translating Today's Discoveries. http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/features/cancer-mutations.html