University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

1475 NW 12th Avenue, Miami, Florida 33136

University of Miami Health System has a leading cancer center in South Florida: the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. This center is the only one in the region with mesothelioma specialists offered to patients.

University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Pleural Mesothelioma and Peritoneal Mesothelioma

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University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

1475 NW 12th Avenue

Miami, Florida

Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez

Dr. Nestor Villamizar


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More About Mesothelioma Treatment at University of Miami Cancer Center

University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is designated as a top medical facility by the National Cancer Institute. Only a select few cancer centers receive recognition from the NCI. University of Miami Sylvester is one of just two NCI-designated centers in Florida.

The lead thoracic surgeon for mesothelioma is Dr. Nestor Villamizar. Another is Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez, who is the clinical lead for the cancer center’s thoracic disease group. Dr. Mecker Möller previously led peritoneal mesothelioma care at University of Miami Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Experienced Mesothelioma Specialists

    • Dr. Nestor Villamizar, thoracic surgeon
    • Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez, clinical research lead for thoracic disease group
    • Dr. Dao Nguyen, thoracic surgeon
    • Dr. Gilberto Lopes, thoracic medical oncologist
    • Dr. Luis Villa, medical oncologist
    • Dr. Steven Weiss, hematologic oncologist
    • Dr. Alan Dal Pra, radiation oncologist
    • Dr. Laura Michelle Freedman, radiation oncologist
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    • University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
    • University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
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Treatment Specialties

    • Cytoreductive/HIPEC surgery
    • Immunotherapy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiation
    • Tumor treating fields therapy (Optune Lua)
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Get Connected to University of Miami Health

University of Miami Sylvester Health System offers a wide range of mesothelioma care options, from palliative services to aggressive surgery, through the cancer center.

Why Choose University of Miami?

  • Specialists for mesothelioma on staff
  • Only mesothelioma cancer center in South Florida
  • High volume of mesothelioma cases

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Ready to Perform Surgery for Patients

Around half of cases are eligible for HIPEC surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma, and Dr. Möller performed on average one each month. That high of a case volume is important, especially when few hospitals offer this level of care for mesothelioma.

“This is a niche,” Dr. Möller said before leaving. “There aren’t many doctors doing this. I think patients benefit when you have all the medical care in one place and I’m glad we can do that here.”

“We make sure the patient sees the palliative care team, surgical nutrition team and many others.”

Protocol Before and Beyond Surgery

Aside from HIPEC surgery, University of Miami Sylvester offers immunotherapy, neoadjuvant chemotherapy and more.

Even for patients who can’t have aggressive surgery or are diagnosed in later stages, University of Miami Sylvester has care options available.

“You can switch from curative intent to palliative intent,” Dr. Möller said. “When you have an extensive tumor in the small bowel, you know you’ll have a less successful cytoreduction.

“You know HIPEC probably won’t be effective. So your debulking goes from curative debulking to palliative debulking. … You’re trying to slow down the disease.”

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Hospital Ranking

    • Not listed in the U.S. News & World Report 2023-2024 Hospitals Honor Roll
    • Ranked 3rd in Miami
    • Ranked 9th in Florida
    • High performing for cancer treatment in general

Clinical Trials Offered at University of Miami Cancer Center

The hospital hosts numerous clinical trials for mesothelioma. Some are advanced trials testing life-saving approaches or therapies.

An example is the multicenter trial featuring intraoperative radiation therapy for pleural mesothelioma. This study has 22 locations and room for up to 150 participants. University of Miami Sylvester is enrolling patients.

How to Begin Treatment at University of Miami Health System

We can help you or a loved one begin receiving mesothelioma care at University of Miami Health System’s cancer hospital. The first step is contacting our staff at Mesothelioma Guide.

Patient advocate Karen Ritter is a registered nurse who understands the best way to contact cancer center staff, including specialists. She’ll help you schedule a consultation and take the first actions toward getting treatment at an NCI-designated cancer center.

Email karen@mesotheliomaguide.com for direct contact with Karen, or fill out a cancer center recommendation form to allow us time to find options for hospitals you can go to.

Sources & Author

  1. A Rare Cancer: Malignant Mesothelioma. University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://news.med.miami.edu/mesothelioma-treatment/. Accessed: 11/21/2023.
  2. Nestor Ricardo Villamizar, MD. University of Miami Health System. Retrieved from: https://sylvester-doctors.umiamihealth.org/provider/Nestor+Ricardo+Villamizar/525395?_ga=2.146866487.1883385217.1644024165-78440731.1637072247. Accessed: 02/04/2022.
  3. Alan Dal Pra, MD. University of Miami Health System. Retrieved from: https://sylvester-doctors.umiamihealth.org/provider/Alan+Dal+Pra/527356?unified=mesothelioma&_ga=2.146866487.1883385217.1644024165-78440731.1637072247&from=search-list. Accessed: 02/04/2022.
  4. Estelamari Rodriguez, MD, MPH. University of Miami Health System. Retrieved from: https://sylvester-doctors.umiamihealth.org/provider/Estelamari+Rodriguez/1257821?unified=mesothelioma&_ga=2.146866487.1883385217.1644024165-78440731.1637072247&from=search-list. Accessed: 02/04/2022.
  5. Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal and Intrapleural Chemotherapy (HIPEC) Program. University of Miami Health System. Retrieved from: https://umiamihealth.org/en/sylvester-comprehensive-cancer-center/treatments-and-services/hyperthermic-intraperitoneal-and-intrapleural-chemotherapy. Accessed: 12/05/2021.
  6. UMHC-Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/fl/university-of-miami-hospital-and-clinics-6390610, Accessed: 02/04/2022.
  7. Testing the Addition of Targeted Radiation Therapy to Surgery and the Usual Chemotherapy Treatment (Pemetrexed and Cisplatin [or Carboplatin]) for Stage I-IIIA Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Clinical trials.gov. Retrieved from: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04158141. Accessed: 02/04/2022.
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About the Writer, Karen Ritter, RN BSN

Karen Ritter, a registered nurse, is the lead patient advocate for Mesothelioma Guide. She has a deep passion for patient care, which includes helping patients and their families search for treatment options at the top mesothelioma cancer centers. She finds the balance between encouraging patients to receive the best treatment possible while enjoying their time with loved ones and friends. Karen is a valuable asset for patients due to her knowledge of mesothelioma, compassion for the victims of this disease and dedication to guiding patients through their treatment journey.