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Since acquiring his medical degree in 1997, Jay M. Lee, M.D., has distinguished himself as one of the nation’s top thoracic surgeons. He is the Surgical Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC), where he both practices medicine and teaches as an assistant professor at the UCLA School of Medicine.
After graduating from UCLA School of Medicine with honors, Lee pursued his residency at Duke University Medical Center and Georgetown University Medical Center. After, he completed fellowships at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, both world renowned centers for the treatment of mesothelioma and lung cancer. The experience he gained from working with other top doctors in the field of thoracic surgery became invaluable to his own practice.
Fast Fact: In 2012, Lee was voted one of Southern California’s Super Doctors.
In addition to being an accomplished surgeon, Lee has a passion for pioneering new methods of treating lung cancer. He helped direct several clinical trials, published studies in peer-reviewed journals and grew to be one of the principal investigators for the UCLA Lung Cancer Research Program. This program focuses on ground-breaking research in the areas of drug discovery, targeted therapy, gene therapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell therapy for malignancies of the lung.
Lee’s specific research interests are immunotherapy and gene therapy in lung cancer and the applications of nanotechnology for lung cancer treatment. As a result of Lee’s lung cancer research, he won several grants to continue his work from the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute, the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation, the Ernst A. Noltmann Memorial and the American Society of Gene Therapy.
The research that Lee supervises also extends to clinical trials. He is a part of a UCLA team investigating the growing trend of lung cancer in women and how gender may influence susceptibility and treatment. In addition, Lee is highly involved in the experimental field of immunotherapy relating to lung cancer. Among the clinical trials was a vaccine-based treatment for patients with advanced-stage lung cancer, using a gene-modified virus to help the immune systems of patients with non-small cell lung cancer kill tumor cells.
Lee is certified in thoracic surgery by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. His other clinical focuses include chest malignancies, esophageal cancers, general cardiothoracic surgery, pleural effusions, pleural tumors, pericardial effusions, minimally invasive surgery, thoracoscopic surgery and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). In addition to his work with lung cancer and mesothelioma, Lee is also the Surgical Director for the UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders.
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