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Dr. Jennifer Gnerlich

Dr. Jennifer Gnerlich

Surgical Oncologist

Surgical oncologist Dr. Jennifer Gnerlich has brought an innovative approach to the LSU Healthcare Network in New Orleans, providing hope for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.

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About Jennifer Gnerlich

  • Heated Chemotherapy icon

    Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma icon

    Peritoneal Mesothelioma

  • Board Certified icon

    Board Certified in Medical Oncology

Gnerlich began using the novel hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy procedure at the LSU School of Medicine to help treat various abdominal cancers.

“The biggest thing for me is to think outside the box. How can we expand an application and use it in different ways?” she said. “How can we prevent cancer from spreading in the first place rather than just treating it at the end?”

The procedure involves the use of a heated chemotherapy solution used in conjunction with cytoreductive surgery.

After the surgeon has opened the abdomen and removed all visible tumor cells, a highly concentrated chemotherapy wash is circulated for up to 90 minutes throughout the cavity.

The intent is to kill any microscopic tumor cells that evaded the surgeon. After the chemotherapy is drained, the abdomen is closed.

“For patients with certain types of cancer, it can really help increase the quantity and quality of life,” she said.

New Signature Treatment for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, which was first pioneered more than a decade ago by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker at the Washington Cancer Institute, has become the signature treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma by a limited group of surgical specialists.

Gnerlich completed her surgical oncology fellowship in 2014 at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where the procedure is used extensively.

She did a residency and an earlier fellowship at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

As a board-certified surgical oncologist, she specializes in gastrointestinal cancers in the liver, stomach, pancreas and bile ducts. She also handles appendiceal tumors and carcinomatosis.

Takes a Personalized Approach to Treating Cancer

Since arriving in 2017, Gnerlich has become known for her personalized approach to treating cancer. Establishing doctor-patient relationships has been important and much noticed throughout the medical community.

“The human connection has to be there. They [patients] don’t care that I’m board certified. They want to know that I understand where they’re coming from and what they value in life.”

She also has changed her preoperative discussions with patients from a risks-and-benefits conversation to more of a setting-expectations conversation, which has been warmly received. The cytoreduction and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy combination can be a lengthy procedure, lasting from eight to 12 hours.

“I realized that setting these expectations relieved their anxiety about what their life would look like once they had made it through the operation,” she said. “Being truthful about post-operative pain, the months of fatigue following a large procedure, and the need to find a new baseline of normal became routine talk in my clinic room.”

Disclaimer: Dr. Jennifer Gnerlich has no professional affiliation with

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2 Cited Article Sources

The sources on all content featured in The Mesothelioma Center at include medical and scientific studies, peer-reviewed studies and other research documents from reputable organizations.

  1. Muro, M. (2017, October 31). Jennifer Gnerlich, M.D.
    Retrieved from:
  2. LSU Healthcare Network. (n.d.). Jennifer Gnerlich. Retrieved from:

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Last Modified July 30, 2020

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