Letter from the Director

The Mesothelioma Treatment Center (MTC) at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas, is focused on achieving the best possible outcome for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. We treat patients from Texas and beyond, including many foreign countries.

High-quality patient care, an outstanding research program and a robust patient and family support effort are the hallmarks of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center.

Our outstanding clinical program offers state-of-the art patient care with access to the latest protocol-driven therapy. Patients receive an individualized evaluation and treatment plan. Our patient care team includes highly experienced specialized surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, anesthesiologist, pathologists, intensivists, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains, nutritionists, physical therapists and respiratory therapists.

Our primary treatment strategy relies on technically precise and aggressive surgery to remove all of the tumor cells visible to the naked eye, saving the lung whenever possible. The choice of procedure depends on the patient’s individual tumor, overall medical condition and the patient’s wishes. Non-operative therapies, including traditional chemotherapies as well as novel immunotherapies and biologic treatments, may also be used alone or in combination with surgery.
 
The hospital facilities at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center are of the highest quality. Family members can stay with their loved ones during the most critical part of their post-operative recovery, and expert critical care teams provide around-the-clock care. We will build a care team with out-of-town patients’ personal physicians and oncologists so that treatment can continue close to home after they leave Houston.

The ability of any program to provide ever improving care depends on its vigorous research program. Our basic research efforts seek to understand the mechanisms of mesothelioma and to slow and kill mesothelioma tumors using immunotherapy and other targeted approaches. The MTC has an active clinical trials program – three trials have opened since our founding and more will open in the months ahead.

Equally important is our strong support program for patients and their families. Patient navigators provide assistance with airport transportation, affordable housing and the day-to-day visits to the Texas Medical Center. We offer a diverse chaplaincy team, weekly caregiver luncheons and support groups and psychological support and postdischarge assistance from our social work team. Their care and support extends well beyond hospital discharge.
 
Mesothelioma does not appear to be significantly declining in the United States. My personal goal, and that of the entire team, is on finding a cure. We will continue our battle with this disease and commit to doing our very best for each patient and family we treat.

Sincerely,

David J. Sugarbaker, M.D.
Director, The Mesothelioma Treatment Center
March 2016

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