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Dr. David Rice

As the director of the mesothelioma program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. David Rice is responsible for one of the largest and most respected asbestos-cancer programs in the nation. Rice’s commitment is unwavering. He is constantly working to find the best treatment for this disease.

Over the years, Rice has been on the cutting edge of asbestos disease treatments. He is a proponent of radiation treatment for post-surgical patients and has worked closely in clinical trials to give patients their best chance. Recently, he worked on a phase II trial that looked at intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMTR) as a vital part of the extrapleural pneumonectomy surgical procedure. In addition to his groundbreaking work as a thoracic surgeon, he is an associate professor of surgery at the university’s cancer center, which is located in Houston.

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What is Dr. Rice's Specialty?

With his expertise as a surgeon and researcher, Rice is an oft sought speaker about the best ways to treat and eradicate asbestos cancer and other lung cancers. He has spoken at events worldwide about asbestos cancers and has been published extensively in peer-reviewed research journals. Some of his research work includes “Outcomes after extrapleural pneumonectomy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma” and “Diagnosis, Staging and Surgical Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” He has also written textbook chapters regarding thoracic surgical procedures and radiation treatment and published teaching manuals about lung cancer and disease staging.

Rice’s clinical research efforts have focused on lung cancers. He is a principal investigator on the Vanguard study, which looks at novel biological agents to prevent cancer recurrence in some lung cancer patients. He is also the principal investigator in a study that looks at the hemostatic effects of specific medications during an extrapleural pneumonectomy.

Rice is a proponent for minimally invasive procedures, including lung-sparing pleural surgeries. He sits on the hospital’s Minimally Invasive & New Technology in Oncologic Surgery (MINTOS) board. He was the first at MD Anderson to perform a minimally invasive surgical removal of the esophagus (esophagectomy). He and his colleagues at MD Anderson have expanded the use of minimally invasive lobectomy surgery for patients with localized lung cancer

Rice also supports standardizing the operative approaches and surgical nomenclature for all asbestos-cancer patients so various doctors can make useful comparisons and improve the accuracy of patient prognoses.

What’s Rice’s Background?

Raised and educated in Ireland, Rice graduated from medical school in 1991. He went on to have several prestigious residencies in the United States, including at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. While at Mayo, Rice completed an 18-month fellowship in tumor immunology, examining the effect of specific cells on the immune system. He also trained in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and M.D. Anderson from 1999 through 2001.

He joined the MD Anderson staff and faculty in early 2001. At the same time, he serves as a consultant at Ben Taub General Hospital and the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Rice is certified by several governing boards including The American Board of Thoracic Surgeons, The American Board of Surgery and The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland. From 2008 through 2011, he served as a member on the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation advisory board. Additionally, he has won numerous awards for his work as a surgeon and an asbestos researcher.


MD Anderson Cancer Center. David Rice. Retrieved from http://faculty.mdanderson.org/David_Rice/

Rice, David. “Staging of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: A Guideline for Patients.” Retrieved from http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/cancer-information/cancer-types/mesothelioma/mpm%20staging.pdf