George Simon M.D.doctor match
Assistant Director, Clinical Investigation
Pleural mesothelioma, lung cancers, thoracic cancers
Christian Medical College and Hospital, India
St. Joseph's Hospital, Denver, Colorado
George Simon, M.D., has studied thoracic cancers since his days at medical school in the late 1980s, but none of them has been as intriguing, or as challenging, as malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Simon was named assistant director of clinical research for the Hollins Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina in August, 2010, hired to help make the school a regional leader in handling thoracic malignancies like mesothelioma.
Because it is a relatively rare disease, there are only a few centers across the country that have direct expertise in treating (it)," he said in a recent podcast on the school's website. "We would like to offer that expertise, in the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma, to the public in South Carolina.
Simon came to MUSC from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, where he served a short time as the Director of Thoracic Oncology. He previously worked as the Director of Mesothelioma Research at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.
It was in Tampa, where he co-authored an often referenced article, "Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, A Comprehensive Review." As part of the conclusion in that article, he writes: "The disease is expected to increase in incidence until 2020, so awareness of this entity as a possible diagnosis should be heightened."
While he offers some hope in the improved treatment therapies regarding mesothelioma, he also casts some doubts over the commitment within the medical field to fully tackle the disease.
"MPM does not have one widely accepted treatment modality since none reliably results in a cure. There is a striking lack of randomized, clinical trials comparing treatment regimens in this disease, due in part to the relatively low incidence," he writes.
Fast Fact: He believes the full impact of pleural mesothelioma has not yet been felt.
He also predicts that almost 72,000 cases of MPM are expected in the United States within the next 20 years, despite the dramatic drop in commercial use of asbestos -- the primary cause of mesothelioma.
He sounded the alarm again that even the slightest exposure to asbestos fibers can be harmful to those who may be predisposed to the disease.
Genetic predisposition for MPM may play a strong role, such that even minimal or apparently inconsequential asbestos exposure may lead to tumor development.
Simon is one of three physicians who see mesothelioma patients at MUSC, sharing duties with Carolyn Reed, M.D., and Chad Denlinger, M.D. Their collective approach does not include extrapleural pneumonectomy, but instead the less-invasive pleurectomy/decortication with chemotherapy.
Simon earned a reputation as a leader in lung-cancer research. It was one of his trials that led to the first individualized treatments for advanced lung cancer patients based upon the gene expression found in a patient's tumor.
It was shortly after his arrival in South Carolina that the Center added six new clinical trials for Stage 4 lung cancer patients. In the state, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
Simon received his degree from the Christian Medical College in Punjab, India. He completed a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, then served as director of Clinical Investigation there, too.
He has authored or co-authored articles in over 50 peer-reviewed publications, along with 13 book chapters.