Quick Facts
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    4018 W Capitol Ave, Little Rock, AR 72205
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Rockefeller Cancer Institute’s Multidisciplinary Approach to Treatment

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute takes pride in the team approach it utilizes, and the individualized care it provides.

Pathologists, medical oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and researchers come together at the cancer institute to design specialized treatment options for each patient.

And they do it well.

“We believe our team treatment provides medical care that is second to none,” is a common refrain here.

The lung cancer team, which handles patients with pleural mesothelioma, meets weekly for a multidisciplinary discussion on every patient it sees.

Personalized Care at Rockefeller Cancer Institute

The belief at the cancer institute is that if each person is unique, then every diagnosis and every treatment plan should be unique, too.

The goal is to optimize care and minimize side effects, providing the best quality of life during and after treatment for each patient.

The institute is the only comprehensive cancer treatment and academic facility in Arkansas, capitalizing on the latest research, technology and procedures.

Doctors have access to clinical trials and genetic testing that provide treatment possibilities beyond the standard of care.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that strikes an estimated 3,000 patients each year in the U.S.

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The multidisciplinary approach to treatment could include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. It also could incorporate immunotherapy, gene therapy or an alternative therapy if appropriate.

Medical oncologist Dr. Konstantinos Arnaoutakis and thoracic surgeon Dr. Matthew Steliga regularly see patients with pleural mesothelioma, most often caused by long-ago occupational exposure to asbestos.

“Patients can be scared at first, but our team tries to make them comfortable, discussing the diagnosis, the prognosis and therapeutic options,” Arnaoutakis said. “We have a great team of different specialists, all working together to help these patients.”

Steliga specializes in thoracic oncology with an emphasis on lung cancer, esophageal cancer and other tumors in the chest. He previously served as an instructor in the department of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Rockefeller Cancer Institute Goes Beyond Clinical Care

The lung cancer team also includes certified tobacco cessation specialists who provide clinic-based programs with a 70 percent success rate of helping people quit smoking.

Palliative care specialists, interventional radiologists, a geneticist and a lung cancer support group that includes dietitians, pharmacists and social workers also provide whatever help is necessary.

The University of Arkansas first opened its cancer institute in 1989. Dr. Peter Emanuel became its director in 2007, the same year its name became the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in honor of the late Arkansas lieutenant governor.

Under Emanuel, the institute strengthened its research, outreach and clinical programs, putting it on the path to becoming an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Patients today come from across the county and benefit from the latest 300,000-square foot, 12-story expansion in 2010 that boasts a new research lab and a large infusion clinic for patients to receive chemotherapy.

Mesothelioma Clinical Trials at Rockefeller Cancer Institute

  • A phase II clinical trial measuring the effectiveness of the immunotherapy combination of nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) in treating rare tumors, including mesothelioma.