Dr. R. Taylor Ripley, Director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. R. Taylor Ripley

Director, Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. R. Taylor Ripley is the director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and an associate professor of surgery.

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About R. Taylor Ripley

  • Minimally Invasive Surgery icon

    Minimally Invasive Surgery

  • Pleural and Lung Cancer icon

    Pleural and Lung Cancer

Dr. Robert Taylor Ripley was the hand-picked successor of mesothelioma treatment pioneer Dr. David Sugarbaker, who recruited him for the position before he died in August 2018.

Sugarbaker had joined Baylor in 2014 with a goal of creating the finest mesothelioma treatment and research facility in the country. He believed Ripley could finish what he had started.

Ripley joined Baylor after four years at the National Cancer Institute, where he carved a reputation for clinical, surgical and investigational research excellence.

“Dr. Sugarbaker wanted someone to help grow his program. He recruited me to do that,” Ripley said. “It is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had.”

Ripley’s Role at Baylor

As a cardiothoracic surgeon, Ripley will be doing aggressive, open chest surgeries for mesothelioma and minimally invasive surgical procedures. He will focus on the management of patients with esophageal, thymic, lung and other thoracic malignancies.

He sees patients at the Baylor Clinic and performs surgeries at St. Luke’s Medical Center.

Ripley also hopes to grow the robotics program, which will expand the reach of thoracic surgery capabilities at Baylor.

“Dr. Ripley’s recruitment will add to and expand our expertise, thereby assuring that our patients receive unparalleled care,” said Dr. Kent Osborne, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor.

Ripley will oversee his novel laboratory work that began at the NCI with cell biology and tumor metabolism, involving the reprograming of cells to make them more vulnerable to therapy.

That research is part of a program Sugarbaker had wanted to build, which lead to him recruiting Ripley.

Ripley earned his medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He did his surgical training at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Colorado in Denver.

At MSK, he worked closely with Dr. Valerie Rusch, a mesothelioma specialist who sparked his interest in this rare cancer.

Personal Patient Care

Ripley also has a strong interest in advancing the treatment of esophageal cancer and lung cancer, studying environmental stimuli that promote treatment resistance and tumor growth.

He works to develop the patient-doctor relationships that go well beyond the clinical and surgical platforms. He believes in the personalization of care and a lifelong commitment to each patient.

“I enjoy seeing patients,” Ripley said. “I enjoy seeing how they do, seeing them do well, and seeing if I can help coach them to live the very best they can.”

He also believes strongly in educating patients as thoroughly as possible about the disease they have, and the treatments they select. He encourages questions from families and patients.

“The harder the management of a disease becomes, the more time it takes, and the better I get to know these patients and their families,” he said. “I enjoy that.”

Disclaimer: Dr. R. Taylor Ripley has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.

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Senior Content Writer

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.

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


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Last Modified November 12, 2019

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