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Dr. Jay M. Lee, surgical director at the UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders

Jay M. Lee, M.D.

Thoracic Surgeon

Dr. Jay Lee is the surgical director of the UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders and the Thoracic Oncology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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About Dr. Jay M. Lee

Dr. Jay Lee works closely with Dr. Robert Cameron at UCLA’s Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program, which has been a leader in pioneering treatment advances.

Lee’s clinical interests are vast. He handles esophageal cancer, airway tumors, tracheal tumors, mediastinal tumors, chest wall tumors, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

He has expertise in robotic surgery and minimally invasive surgeries. He performs video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery for lung cancer patients.

Lee directs a laboratory research program funded by the National Institutes of Health. The focus of his program includes gene-modified cellular immunotherapy for thoracic malignancies.

On the Leading Edge of Medicine

At UCLA, Lee is the principal investigator for several clinical trials. One trial is measuring the effectiveness of an Imfinzi (durvalumab) and tremelimumab drug combination for stage 4 lung cancer.

Another trial involves a vaccine-based treatment for patients with non-small cell lung cancer. , The therapy uses a gene-modified virus to help the immune system.

One multicenter trial is measuring the effectiveness of immunotherapy in conjunction with surgery that may help prevent recurrence.

Lee also is part of a national research effort examining lung cancer in women and how gender influences treatment and susceptibility to the disease.

His research has led to additional grants from the National Cancer Institute, the Ernst A. Noltmann Memorial, the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation and the American Society of Gene Therapy.

Well-Respected in Los Angeles Area

Lee’s clinical outcomes have been excellent, leading to a wide range of accolades. He was part of Hollywood Reporter Magazine’s Top Doctors edition: Best Thoracic and Cardiac Surgeons in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Magazine also listed him in its Super Doctors section.

Lee received his medical degree from UCLA in 1997. He returned to UCLA after completing a research fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and his cardiothoracic training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

He also did surgical residencies at Duke University Medical Center and Georgetown University Medical Center.

He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. He treats patients at the UCLA Medical Center.

Lee is also an associate professor of surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Snehal Smart, M.D.

Snehal Smart, M.D.

Snehal Smart is the Pleural Mesothelioma Center’s in-house medical doctor, serving as both an experienced Patient Advocate and an expert medical writer for the website. When she is not providing one-on-one assistance to patients, Dr. Snehal stays current on the latest medical research, reading peer-reviewed studies and interviewing oncologists to learn about advancements in diagnostic tools and cancer treatments.

Last Modified February 26, 2019

2 Cited Article Sources

  1. Journal of Visualized Surgery. (n.d.). Jay M. Lee, MD. Retrieved from
  2. UCLA Health. (n.d.). Jay M. Lee, MD. Retrieved from

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