The recent return to Pittsburgh of renowned thoracic surgeon Rodney Landreneau has sparked a new emphasis on the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma at the Esophageal and Lung Institute at Allegheny Health Network.
Landreneau brings a lengthy career in innovative surgical oncology, clinical research and a specialty in treating lung diseases, including mesothelioma.
He led the thoracic surgery department at Allegheny Hospital in the early ’90s before spending more than 20 years at the nearby University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Ochsner Cancer Institute in New Orleans.
He rejoined the Allegheny team, alongside Dr. Blair Jobe, in 2014 as co-director of the Esophageal and Lung Institute, which has become a specialty center attracting patients from throughout Western Pennsylvania.
“Under the leadership of Drs. Landreneau and Jobe, we are strongly positioned to be one of the country’s premier referral centers in this highly specialized field,” said George J. Magovern, M.D., chairman of Allegheny Health Network Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. “We were thrilled to welcome him back.”
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The multidisciplinary team at Allegheny includes specialists in medical oncology, radiation oncology, thoracic and general surgery, gastroenterology, pathology, otolaryngology, nutrition and supportive care.
The institute has everyone under one roof, allowing patients to meet with the specialists and doctors who can diagnose and treat a specific lung or esophageal disease without having to travel from stop to stop. The coordination makes for seamless referrals.
The team approach at the institute allows a unique collaboration on a personalized treatment plan for each individual, making sure the patient is getting the best possible multidisciplinary care.
The institute handles a variety of problems, including advanced esophageal diseases like Barrett’s esophagus, motility disorders and dysplasia. It treats lung issues that include cancer, mediastinal tumors, tracheal diseases, asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Landreneau estimates he will be seeing more than 100 patients annually with mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer that requires a specialty center to get the best care.
“It’s critical for a patient to see a thoracic oncologist with a background in the disease [of mesothelioma], and a staff with experience in treating it,” Landreneau said. “That’s what we can offer here.”
Landreneau is one of the few surgeons in the country performing the complex surgical debulking/hyperthermic chemoperfusion combination for mesothelioma patients. It involves the surgical removal of all visible cancer before bathing the chest cavity in a chemotherapy solution.
Although the institute has several satellite locations, it handles the most complex cases at the Allegheny General Hospital and the West Penn Hospital.
Jobe joined the institute a year before Landreneau. They are a big part of the recent resurgence of the Allegheny Health Network, which recently partnered with Highmark Insurance as a competitor with the nearby UPMC. Jobe is widely known for his groundbreaking treatment and research of esophageal disease.
The staff prides itself on exploring the newest, least invasive treatment options. The surgical staff is complimented by an extensive research program that has pioneered cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment advances.
Allegheny Health recently announced that Dr. Suzanne Schiffman, M.D., is now offering the Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) therapy for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma, which involves the lining around the abdomen.
It is usually combined with cytoreductive surgery, which involves meticulously
removing all visible cancer cells throughout abdominal area. When surgery is complete, a heated chemotherapy solution is flushed through the abdominal
cavity, where it remains for up to two hours before being drained. The chemotherapy is designed to kill any remaining cancer cells in the abdomen.
Allegheny has multiple programs designed to promote early detection of many serious diseases, which often expands the treatment options available and gives patients the best chance with a curative approach to therapy.
The Esophageal and Lung Institute is one of seven specialty services at Allegheny Health. The others include:
Allegheny Health includes more than 2,000 physicians spanning every clinical specialty, providing world-class medical care to patients everywhere.
It encompasses seven hospitals and more than 200 primary care and specialty care practices.
Currently, there are no mesothelioma specialists at this hospital.
Disclaimer: Allegheny General Hospital has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.
Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers.
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