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Durham, North Carolina, is home to Duke Cancer Center. Designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), this hospital and research facility is one of only 40 to maintain the highest standards of excellence in patient care, education, basic science, clinical research and cancer prevention.
As lung cancer is the deadliest cancer type, its diagnosis and treatment are major components of the Duke Cancer Center. The center is home to a wide array of nationally and internationally renowned lung cancer experts, including David H. Harpole Jr., M.D., vice chief of the Division of Surgical Services and an authority in mesothelioma, thoracic oncology, general thoracic surgery and malignant lung diseases; Betty C. Tong, M.D., a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon with clinical interests in mesothelioma, lung cancer, chest conditions, esophageal cancer and diseases of the mediastinum; and Jennifer L. Garst, M.D., a medical oncologist with clinical interests in thoracic oncology including mesothelioma and other rare chest and lung malignancies.
Depending on the disease and its diagnosis and severity, treatment options may include medical therapy, such as chemotherapy courses and medication; radiation therapy, used for all stages of lung cancer; and the latest surgical techniques designed to minimize harm to healthy organs, such as surgeries for non-small cell lung cancer in Stage I or II.
Whether for lung cancer or any other type, research is crucial, and 250 clinical trials, including several Phase I, II and III-level protocols, are underway. An example is “An Open-Label Clinical Trial of MORAb-009 in Combination with Pemetrexed and Cisplatin in Subjects with Mesothelioma.”
As part of the Duke University Health System, the Duke Cancer Center bridges the gap between cancer care and research by unifying a large population of cancer specialists, including more than 300 researchers and physicians and 500 clinical staff members. The overlying goal of this organization, which was founded in 1972, is to accelerate cancer research while improving the transfer of these discoveries from the laboratory to the patient. Essentially, the Duke Cancer Center is responsible for all cancer-related activities at both Duke University and Duke University Medical Center, as this benefits the discovery, development and delivery of new cancer treatments.
The Duke University School of Medicine is ranked fifth among U.S. research-oriented schools of medicine in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report survey of best graduate schools. Today, the Duke Cancer Center is one of the world’s largest and most active cancer research and clinical enterprises, with more than 6,000 new cancer patients seen annually.
Duke Cancer Center’s success is closely tied to the Duke Oncology Network, a collection of oncology-related services and local, regional and national cancer programs. These organizations provide physicians and health professionals with access to cutting-edge research, education and training programs.
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