Director of Thoracic Surgery
Duke University Medical School
Duke University Hospital
Harvey Pass, M.D., has entered his fourth decade of contributing to the fight against mesothelioma.
Pass moved his base of operations from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, to the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, to his current home at the Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. But his focus has remained the same. At each stop he has studied mesothelioma cancer, looking for answers, raising awareness, treating patients, extending lives – offering hope where once there was none.
He is currently the director of the Thoracic Surgery Division at New York University (NYU) Medical Center, leading its Early Detection Research Network Biomarker Discovery Laboratory for Mesothelioma funded by NCI. He also oversees the NCI-funded Mesothelioma Pathogenesis Program Project.
Fast Fact: Pass served as the vice chairman of the medical advisory board for pharmaceutical innovaters Rosetta Genomics, Ltd.
Since being recruited to NYU, he has been credited with solidifying its thoracic fellowship training program, bringing considerable recognition with his reputation.
A Pioneer in the Study of Mesothelioma
While at the NCI from 1986-96, Pass was among the first to study the use of intraoperative photodynamic therapy (PDT) for thoracic cancers and treatment of pleural mesothelioma, and he explored the post-surgery use of adjuvant immunochemotherapy for treating the cancer. He also initiated continuing collaborative studies with doctors Michele Carbone, M.D., and Renato Baserga, M.D., after being one of the first to establish “organized, prospective tissue archives” – providing “accurate matching demographics” that broke new ground in the exploration of mesothelioma.
From 1996-2005, Pass and his colleagues at the Karmanso Cancer Center of Wayne State University completed a key study in which they identified the protein osteopontin and its high levels in patients with pleural mesothelioma. That study has helped physicians screen individuals with a history of asbestos exposure in hopes of early detection and more successful treatments.
Pass was also part of the group that helped start the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) in 1998. He published extensively on angiogenic mechanisms in the cancer and edited the books “100 Questions & Answers about Mesothelioma,” and “Malignant Mesothelioma: Advances in Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Translational Therapies.”
An Advocate for Raising Awareness of Asbestos-related Diseases
Throughout his career, Pass has lobbied for mesothelioma patients, constantly warning about the dangers of asbestos exposure, the primary cause of this disease. He has helped raise awareness of mesothelioma and lung cancer. To this extent he serves as a board member for the Lung Cancer Alliance and is chairs the Scientific Advisory Board for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.