2160 S. 1st Ave., Maywood, IL 60153
Patients in the Midwest can turn to Loyola University Medical Center, a top mesothelioma treatment center in the western suburbs of Chicago. Founded in 1969, the private medical center holds true to its Catholic Jesuit tradition of treating the mind, body and spirit of each patient.
Aside from this commitment, much has changed at Loyola over the years. The center grew to become an integral part of the Loyola Health System, a sprawling medical network that now includes two campuses and more than 30 primary and specialty care centers throughout Cook, DuPage and Will counties.
And more positive change is on the way. Loyola has already started planning the International Midwest Mesothelioma Program (IMMP), which will focus on the research and treatment of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. The arrival of IMMP will put Loyola on the map as a worldwide destination for state-of-the-art treatment.
With 569 beds, Loyola University Medical Center is the hub of Loyola’s 61-acre main campus in Maywood, Ill. The main campus also features the Cardinal Bernadin Cancer Center, the Stritch School of Medicine and the Loyola Outpatient Center. In 2008, Loyola acquired the 36-acre Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park, Ill., which houses the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center and a 250-bed hospital.
In its 40-plus years of service, Loyola University Medical Center has earned much praise for its exceptional quality of care. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it the No. 3 hospital in Illinois and one of the top 20 hospitals in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery.
The facility is well known for its excellence in treating cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders and childhood illnesses. Loyola physicians have gained national recognition in America’s Top Doctors, a guide from Castle Connelly.
Perhaps one of Loyola’s main draws is its remarkable pairing of talent and technology. Among the medical center’s staff is surgeon Dr. Marcelo DaSilva, a mesothelioma specialist who trained under Dr. David Sugarbaker, a world-renowned pioneer in the field.
While working with Sugarbaker at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, DaSilva developed a treatment approach for pleural mesothelioma that can prolong survival by three to four years.
The procedure starts with extensive surgery to remove all visible tumor growth. Once complete, surgeons bathe the lungs in a heated solution of cancer-killing drugs, a technique called heated chemotherapy. Allowing the heated drugs to circulate around the lungs helps destroy microscopic cancer cells, which usually cause the cancer to return even after major surgery.
Doctors at Loyola’s Thoracic and Lung Oncology Program are equipped with the latest tools for fighting mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer, including 3-D video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).
This advanced technology provides surgeons with realistic depth as they operate on the lungs. The procedure is minimally invasive, meaning it only requires several small incisions to complete. When compared with patients treated with open surgery, VATS patients typically experience less pain and recover faster with smaller scars.
Loyola also has earned praise for its groundbreaking research. The center is a nationally recognized leader not only in health care, but also in key research that can turn the results of clinical studies into better cancer treatments.
Dr. Kathy Albain, a professor and director of medical oncology at Cardinal Bernadin Cancer Center, has compared several promising drug combinations for fighting mesothelioma. She contributed to a 2012 study that tested the effectiveness of adding bevacizumab to gemcitabine/cisplatin therapy, a tried and true combination for managing several types of cancer.
While the addition of bevacizumab improved the outcomes of patients with cancer of the breast, colon, lung and kidney, Albain and her colleagues found it had no benefit for mesothelioma patients. Dr. Albain also researches gene therapy and targeted therapy, two innovative techniques that may change the face of cancer treatment in coming years.
Another Loyola doctor, Dr. Maurizio Bocchetta, has been looking into Simian Virus 40 (SV40) and its debated role in causing cancer. Some researchers suspect this virus, which contaminated polio vaccines produced in the 1950s and 1960s, is one of the few potential causes of mesothelioma besides asbestos exposure.
As Loyola researchers learn more about how asbestos and other risk factors cause mesothelioma, they will also learn better ways to treat the disease and extend survival.
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