The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore has been a world leader in research and patient care for many years, garnering more federal funding for its work than any other medical facility.
About Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
Its combination of science and medical programs continues to uncover new cancer mechanisms that are turned into novel therapeutics, leading to unprecedented success in fighting many cancers.
The center includes a lung cancer program that has a team of physicians dedicated to malignant mesothelioma, a rare disease caused by exposure to asbestos.
- Dr. Julie Renee Brahmer, director of the Thoracic Oncology Program and co-principal investigator of the Johns Hopkins National Clinical Trials Network. She has been seeing mesothelioma patients for more than a decade
- Dr. Patrick Forte, assistant professor of oncology with a special interest in lung cancer and mesothelioma. He leads several international clinical trials involving novel immunotherapy drugs.
- Dr. Richard James Battafarano, Division of Thoracic Surgery director who specializes in the treatment of benign and malignant diseases of the chest. He does video-assisted thoracic surgery for lung cancer and esophageal cancers. His surgical interest in pleural mesothelioma stems from his time at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York.
- Dr. Stephen Clyde Yang, professor of surgery and medical oncologist who also is involved in the esophageal cancer and lung cancer programs at Sidney Kimmel. His research interest is in the development of molecular markers for early-stage diagnosis of cancer, including pleural mesothelioma.
In 2016, John Hopkins launched the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which quickly has become one of America’s leaders in the field.
Many oncologists believe that immunotherapy eventually will change the way cancer, including pleural mesothelioma, is treated.
Immunotherapy involves strengthening a patient’s own immune system and allowing it to destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
“Immunotherapy is a game changer,” said Dr. Drew Pardoll, institute director at John Hopkins Medicine. “We believe the focused and collaborative research will advance immunotherapies to the point where the immune system will be able to beat 100 percent of cancers.”
Brahmer, who works closely with mesothelioma patients, published a study recently about the effectiveness of Opdivo (nivolumab) for lung cancer.
Clinical Trials Moving Forward
The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center has six different mesothelioma clinical trials, either active-and-recruiting, or active.
One of those trials is studying the effectiveness of the immunotherapy drug Imfinzi (durvalumab), in combination with a standard chemotherapy for patients with unresectable disease.
Brahmer recently finished a clinical trial involving a new chemical compound made to target tumor cells. It showed improved progression-free survival and longer overall survival for mesothelioma patients.
The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center provides a personalized, multidisciplinary treatment regimen for mesothelioma that often includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
The center also provides patients and families with counseling and survivor support, cancer education programs, on-site social workers and spiritual support. It has a unique Art of Healing Program, which combines standard mesothelioma treatment with alternative medicine.