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Thoracic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Daniel brought some impressive credentials to the Starr Wood Cardiac Group in Portland when he arrived two years ago.
Starr Wood is part of the network of hospitals under Providence Health & Services, which also includes the Providence Portland Medical Center.
Daniel, who trained with renowned mesothelioma specialist Dr. David Sugarbaker in Boston, performed the first extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) in Arizona in 2010 when he worked at the Tucson Medical Center.
The EPP is one of the most radical procedures for any disease. It involves the removal of an entire lung, the lining around it and parts of the diaphragm. Although it’s aggressive, many mesothelioma patients credit their extended survival to the surgery.
It was the first of several of those surgeries Daniel performed at the University of Arizona facility. Before then, mesothelioma patients had few options but traveling to different parts of the country to find a surgeon who could perform it.
Radiation and chemotherapy often accompany the surgery as part of a multidisciplinary treatment plan he helped orchestrate.
“An extrapleural pneumonectomy is a surgical treatment most people don’t feel comfortable doing. But the disease is very aggressive, and a cure with mesothelioma is really hard to achieve.” — Dr. Jonathan Daniel
Despite the challenges of treating this rare cancer, Daniel has the necessary experience to give patients the best possible chance at surviving. Trained in general and cardiothoracic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Daniel has been accumulating hands-on surgical experience since 2000.
Daniel studied thoracic surgery under Dr. Sugarbaker, with whom he co-authored an article discussing surgical techniques for mesothelioma. The 2009 article, published in Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, advocated cytoreductive surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy.
Fast Fact: Daniel was the first doctor to perform the EPP procedure in the Southwest.
The research team found the treatment combination provided higher rates of long-term survival for mesothelioma patients than other currently used treatments. Sugarbaker and Daniel agree this procedure, while beneficial, should only be performed by specially trained surgeons at facilities, such as the University of Arizona Medical Center, that have experience treating mesothelioma cases.
Daniel was on MD Anderson’s team of investigators who established the role of a signaling pathway in mesothelioma cell cycles. The 2005 project found that inhibiting epidermal growth factor can trigger cell death in mesothelioma tumors.
His clinical practices are located at the University Medical Center, Tucson Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital. In addition to mesothelioma, his clinical specialties include minimally invasive lung resections and lung transplantation. He is certified through the American Board of Surgery and is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians.
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