Mesothelioma Cancer Centers
University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center
Doctors Affiliated with this Treatment Facility
Abramson Cancer Center
Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Abramson Cancer Center is one of the top institutions in the country for cancer research, patient care and education. Part of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (also known as “Penn Medicine” or “Penn Med”), the Abramson Cancer Center is one of 40 centers in the United States designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Penn Med is also known as one of the world’s top medical schools; in 2011, the school ranked second among research-based medical schools by U.S. News & World Reports. (Only Harvard Medical School surpassed it in ratings.)
In 2011, the name of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine was changed to the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), recognizing a $225 million grant from Penn alumnus Raymond Perelman and his wife Ruth.
History of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Founded in 1765, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine was the first medical school in the 13 American colonies, openings its doors even before the United States declared its independence – making it the oldest medical school in the country. The school was founded by John Morgan, a young physician from Philadelphia, who had earned his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Using that university as their model, Morgan and his fellow faculty members chose to build a medical school within an institution of higher learning; they offered bedside teaching at the nearby Pennsylvania Hospital, which was founded by the famous scientist and politician Benjamin Franklin.
Two centuries later, the UPenn School of Medicine opened the doors of a new cancer affiliate. Originally named The Cancer Center, the Abramson Cancer Center was established in 1973 by a group of cancer specialists committed to offering the newest advances in treatment to their patients. In June 2002, the center’s name was changed to the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, recognizing contributions by the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson family.
Today, the Abramson Cancer Center handles more than 70,000 outpatient visits each year and provides more than 33,000 chemotherapy treatments and 66,000 radiation treatments. In addition to its patient work, the center also hosts more than 400 scientists who work to develop new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat various types of cancer.
The Abramson Cancer Center is the cornerstone member of the Penn Cancer Network, a select group of hospitals throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey that work with Abramson to provide top patient care. Abramson offers specialty care that may not be available at most community hospitals, giving more patients access to the latest cancer treatments.
Mesothelioma Treatment at the Abramsom Center of the University of Pennsylvania
The Abramson Cancer Center works with Penn Medicine’s Mesothelioma and Pleural Program to offer numerous treatment options to patients with mesothelioma, more than most other health systems around the country. UPenn takes a multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment; this means that every patient is treated by a number of specialist doctors who gather together to share their expertise and develop a personalized course of action to treat each individual patient. A patient’s “team” of doctors may consist of a surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, genetic therapist, psychiatrist, physical therapist and others. A “patient liaison” works with the patient to help navigate the process, relaying any questions to his medical team and making the cancer-treatment process more manageable.
Generally, treatment for mesothelioma may include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or participation in a clinical trial that offers a new treatment option; often times, surgery will consist of removing the entire affected lung. However, at UPenn, treatment usually includes a lung-sparing surgery that removes the layer of cancer from the inside of the lung while keeping the lung itself intact. This surgery is often followed by a process called “photodynamic therapy,” in which a non-toxic photosensitizing agent is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. The treatment seems not just to fight the cancer cells, but to trigger the body’s immune system to fight the disease as well. Penn is one of only two cancer centers in the world where this innovative therapy is used to treat mesothelioma.
What also makes Abramson and the Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Program unique is their dedication to preserving a patient’s quality of life. In fact, doctors at Penn say they weigh a person’s quality of life just as much as extending their life when developing their course of treatment. Also unique is the center’s emphasis on clinical trials that offer new, innovative treatment options – virtually any patient at Penn may take part in a clinical trial, if he or she desires.
Penn Lung Center
UPenn also has an excellent partner in the Penn Lung Center, a multidisciplinary center that brings together different departments and centers to work toward advances in lung disease. The Penn Lung Center is located at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center at 3600 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
In this video, leading medical experts from the University of Pennsylvania Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Program at the Abramson Cancer Center discuss their multi disciplinary approach to diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma. Learn about the unique aspects of the Penn Pleural Program including the use of Patient Navigators to provide comprehensive support to patients and their families as well as a treatment approach that puts quality of life on equal footing with the benefits of treatment.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Annette Charlevois
Patient Support CoordinatorRead about Annette
Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Treatment at Penn Medicine
Abramson Cancer Center – Penn Cancer Network
“Targeting Mesothelioma: A Team of Experts Tackles a Formidable Foe”
About the Penn Lung Center