Since the Mayo Clinic was founded in the late 1800s, its philosophy has always been based on the idea that “the needs of the patient come first.” The hospital in Rochester began as Saint Mary’s Hospital and was staffed by Dr. William Worrel Mayo and his sons, Drs. William J. and Charles Mayo. The Mayo Model of Care includes several basic fundamentals including:
Based on this philosophy, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is ranked No. 3 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and No. 4 in cancer treatment. The hospital employs some of the most talented physicians in the world and treats hundreds of thousands of patients every year. The Minnesota campus includes Saint Mary’s Hospital and Rochester Methodist Hospital and employs a staff of 32,000.
The state-of-the-art Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has been designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center for over 40 years. This prestigious designation highlights the clinic’s dedication to cancer research and being at the forefront of cancer treatment. With locations in Minnesota, Florida and Arizona, the cancer center provides the highest level of patient care. The cancer center treats mesothelioma and lung cancer patients from all over the world. Experts in specialties such as thoracic surgery, oncology, pathology, radiation therapy and pulmonary medicine ensure that patients get the best care possible.
Each year, more than 12,000 patients with over 200 different types of cancer are diagnosed and treated at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. This adds to the center’s vast expertise in treating malignancies including rare diseases such as mesothelioma. In addition, because Mayo spends about 40 percent of its funding on research, patients can access hundreds of clinical trials with the most advanced treatments possible.
Doctors at Mayo Clinic Minnesota that specialize in mesothelioma and lung cancer include:
Drs. Allen, Cassivi and Nichols participated in a study that reviewed the surgical management of malignant pleural mesothelioma involving 285 patients who underwent extrapleural pneumonectomies. The study found that while this invasive operation can be performed with a better survival rate than subtotal pleurectomy, exploration without resection and biopsy alone, the three-year survival rate was only 14 percent.
As a part of the local community it serves, the Mayo Clinic strives to tackle local health issues. Recently, cases of mesothelioma have been on the rise in Minnesota’s northern Iron Range region as a result of heavy taconite (a mineral similar to asbestos) mining in the area. Two top researchers, Stephen Russell, M.D. and Juan Molina, M.D. are spearheading efforts to implement novel treatments for mesothelioma.
One study undertaken by Dr. Russell and funded by the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics involves taking the measles virus and modifying it to carry toxic drugs directly to mesothelioma cells. In animal studies, the virus was able to double the lifespan of mice with mesothelioma. Currently, Mayo Clinic doctors are leading a Phase I clinical trial for a group of 12 to 36 patients to test the effectiveness of the virus. The virus is already effective when used against ovarian cancer, another cancer that can be caused by asbestos exposure. This technique will have fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
Another clinical trial led by oncologist Dr. Molina will span over three years and may include more than 500 patients. This Phase II trial will test pazopanib, the generic form of GlaxoSmithKline’s kidney cancer pill, Votrient. In preliminary studies, the drug was effective at killing mesothelioma cancer cells. Chemotherapy kills all cells that grow quickly, even healthy ones. Pazopanib only kills cancer cells that form new blood vessels quickly. This targeted drug therapy will involve fewer side effects than chemotherapy and improve survival by as much as six months with a better quality of life.
Disclaimer: Mayo Clinic Minnesota 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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