Dr. Harvey Pass
As a leader in mesothelioma research, Dr. Harvey Pass has been an innovator in various facets of asbestos-cancer treatments -- from pioneering experimental treatments that are now standard procedures to helping make it easier to diagnose the disease in the earlier stages.
For more than 40 years, Pass has been leading the battle against the disease and struggling to learn more about it to give patients a better chance of survival. Today, he is the thoracic surgery division director at the New York University (NYU) Medical Center. His work there includes heading up the Early Detection Research Network Biomarker Discovery Laboratory for Mesothelioma and the Mesothelioma Pathogenesis Program Project, which are both funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
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What are Dr. Pass’s Specialties?
Dr. Pass is not shy about trying out novel approaches for asbestos disease treatments. In the early 1990s, he was among the first to use photodynamic therapy for the treatment of asbestos cancers. This utilizes light rays to kill cancer cells. Today, photodynamic therapy is often considered a standard treatment for asbestos cancers. He developed the first organized tissue archive for use in asbestos-cancer studies and discovered the role of various human components in the disease. He was also the first to use fluorescence bronchoscopy for the early detection of airway cancers, the first in Michigan to use a low-dose helical CT scan for lung cancer and the first Director of the NYU Division of Thoracic Surgery.
From 1996 to 2005, Pass was among a group of researchers at Wayne State University in Michigan that identified a key human protein in pleural mesothelioma patients. Today, this protein marker discovery allows doctors to use a blood test to identify early stage patients. Studies show that patients who are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease have the best chance of long-term survival.
Pass has also been extensively published in peer-reviewed journals, textbooks and other publications. He was involved in editing the book “100 Questions & Answers about Mesothelioma.”
In a 2011 interview, Pass called asbestos a “targeted bombshell” and said researchers are continually working to help patients. He said there is some controversy among physicians about the best way to treat asbestos-cancer patients. Instead of waiting to see how the disease will progress, he said he’s a proactive physician who believes quick treatment is best for most asbestos-cancer patients.
Dr. Pass’s Background
Pass received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and went on to Duke Medical School. After completing his cardiothoracic training, he devoted his life’s work to treating thoracic cancers.
Early in his career, Pass was appointed the head of thoracic oncology at the NCI. He served there for about a decade while he simultaneously worked as an assistant professor at the Uniformed Services University of Health, a health science university located in Bethesda, Md. and run by the United States government. In 2005, he was recruited by NYU and opened his laboratory at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where he continues his research work. He also launched NYU’s three-year Thoracic Fellowship Training Program, where he trains future thoracic surgeons and researchers.
In 2005, he was recruited by NYU and opened his laboratory at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where he continues his research work. He also launched NYU’s three-year Thoracic Fellowship Training Program, where he trains future thoracic surgeons and researchers.
As an advocate for lung cancer and asbestos-cancer patients, Pass is a board member for The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and received the organization’s coveted Pioneer Award in 2008 for his dedication and “emotional investment” into eradicating the disease.
NYU Medical Center. Harvey Pass, M.D. Retrieved from http://www.med.nyu.edu/cvsurgery/thoracic/faculty/bios/pass.html