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More About Mesothelioma Treatment at Loyola University Health System
Loyola University Health System has a multidisciplinary program for mesothelioma treatment. The focus is pleural mesothelioma, which forms near the lungs. The tumors develop in the narrow membrane between the lungs and chest wall.
Dr. Wickii Vigneswaran is the mesothelioma specialist on staff at Loyola University Health System. His official title is Director of Thoracic Surgery. He sees patients at both the Loyola University Medical Center and the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. He’s also a professor at Loyola University’s School of Medicine.
“We are more polished in the way we take care of patients,” he said, noting Loyola University Health System has a full team of medical professionals working on each case.
- Dr. Wickii Vigneswaran, thoracic surgeon
- Dr. Chirantan Mangukia, cardiothoracic surgeon
- Dr. Zaid Abdelsattar, thoracic surgeon
- Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine
- Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center
- Pleurectomy with decortication surgery
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy
- Chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy
Get Connected to Loyola University Health System
Loyola University Health System offers a multidisciplinary approach to mesothelioma treatment. This involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and possibly radiation therapy. There are clinical trials as well for patients who don’t respond to systemic therapy.
Why Choose Loyola University?
- Experienced surgeon for P/D and EPP surgeries
- Immunotherapy drugs offered for specific cases
- High volume of cases speaks to quality of team
Protocol at Loyola University Health System
Surgery for mesothelioma is the first choice at Loyola University Health System, as it is at many cancer centers. This is a radical approach but can add years to your life.
Dr. Vigneswaran prefers using pleurectomy/decortication surgery, which leaves both lungs in the body. This surgery removes the pleural lining, along with the diaphragm and pericardium.
The other option is extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery, which is more radical and tougher on quality of life. This surgery removes one of the lungs, leaving many patients with breathing difficulties.
Dr. Vigneswaran can perform both, but he usually limits extrapleural pneumonectomy to younger patients in earlier stages of cancer.
Use of Chemotherapy With Surgery
Loyola University Health System almost always recommends adjuvant (postoperative) chemotherapy for mesothelioma. It attacks any cancer cells not removed during surgery.
There are a few cases where minimal disease exists after surgery. These patients often are observed without any therapy until signs of recurrence (disease activity). Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (before surgery) is typically with an extrapleural pneumonectomy.
Mesothelioma radiation is used for select patients but in a limited capacity. The only target is the chest wall. When tumors from the pleural lining spread to the chest wall — called “chest wall invasion” — it’s difficult to treat with other therapies.
How the Team Uses Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma immunotherapy is an option when patients aren’t surgical candidates. Dr. Vigneswaran and the team at Loyola University Health System don’t operate on sarcomatoid histology cases. These types of mesothelioma cases are tougher to treat because cells are harder to identify. Epithelioid cells are easier to treat and better for surgery.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma usually goes straight to immunotherapy treatment at Loyola University Health. Opdivo and Yervoy were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of pleural mesothelioma. They are two immune checkpoint inhibitors.
- Not listed in the U.S. News & World Report 2023‑2024 Hospitals Honor Roll
- High performing for general cancer treatment
- High performing in gastrointestinal cancer surgery (peritoneal mesothelioma)
- High performing for lung cancer surgery (pleural mesothelioma)
Optune Lua Therapy at Loyola University Health System
Optune Lua is the FDA‑approved tumor treating fields therapy. It’s a device sending low‑dose electromagnetic waves through the body. The device is attached to the patient’s chest and back to send these waves through the thoracic cavity.
Optune Lua was approved in May of 2019. It’s offered at more than 100 hospitals in the United States. Loyola University Health System is one of them, although Dr. Vigneswaran prefers other therapies first.
“I don’t use it often because I’m not convinced when there are other well‑established treatment options available,” he said. “I’d rather use what we know works.”
Patient Comfort a Priority
Dr. Vigneswaran and the staff at Loyola University Health System see around 50 cases of pleural mesothelioma each year. The majority are operable. This is part of how the hospital has built a highly regarded program for fighting this cancer.
Aside from Dr. Vigneswaran, the team includes medical oncologists, other thoracic surgeons, nurse navigators and an office assistant. The team works with local oncologists for systemic chemotherapy or immunotherapy. This helps patients avoid unnecessary travel to the Chicago area.
“We try to make life higher in quality and more enjoyable,” Dr. Vigneswaran said. “That’s our focus.”
Going to Loyola University Health System for Treatment
We can help you contact Dr. Vigneswaran or his team at Loyola University Health System. The process is easy with the help of a patient advocate. We have our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, available to help you connect with this institution.
Email her at email@example.com or fill out our form for free recommendations on top cancer centers. Either option will begin the process of connecting with Loyola University Health System or finding another cancer treatment facility fitting your needs based on diagnosis, travel and more.
Sources & Author
- Wickii Vigneswaran, MD. Loyola Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.loyolamedicine.org/provider/wickii-t-vigneswaran-md-cardiothoracic-surgery. Accessed: 09/23/2021.
- Wickii T Vigneswaran, MD, MBA, FACS. The Thoracic Surgeon. Retrieved from: https://www.thethoracicsurgeon.com/. Accessed: 09/27/2023.
- Loyola University Medical Center. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/il/loyola-university-medical-center-6430841. Accessed: 10/04/2021.