The Mayo Clinic is based out of Rochester, Minnesota, a good 1,500 miles and 22-hour drive from Florida.
That doesn’t mean one of the world’s leading cancer treatment centers is out of range for southeastern-residing mesothelioma patients.
The Mayo Clinic’s location in Jacksonville, Florida, offers most of the resources available at the main center. Three doctors comprise the specialist team and head a multidisciplinary program for mesothelioma. Patients can receive:
- Other emerging therapies through clinical trials
“We have a weekly multidisciplinary conference to review cases together,” said Dr. Yujie Zhao, a specialist in head, neck, thyroid and lung cancers, along with mesothelioma. “The treatment plans are usually formulated in this conference.”
The other doctors are Dr. Yanyan Lou and Dr. Rami Manochakian, who both focus on lung cancer and mesothelioma. They work with:
- Dr. Matthew Thomas, the primary thoracic surgeon for pleural mesothelioma
- Dr. Sanjay Bagaria, who specializes in cytoreduction with HIPEC for peritoneal mesothelioma
“We have a very strong surgery team,” Dr. Lou said. “Not every thoracic surgeon is comfortable with surgery for mesothelioma.”
The Jacksonville location doesn’t have the patient volume of the Rochester clinic. However, they’re more adept than a private practice or general oncologist. They have a skilled team for life-saving mesothelioma surgery.
The Mayo Clinic also offers the recently FDA-approved immunotherapy drugs, Opdivo and Yervoy. This is in addition to a complete pathological assessment — including cell type — chemotherapy, radiation and in-house clinical trials.
“I think mesothelioma is not a fast-moving field, which is unfortunate, but it’s because it’s such a rare disease,” Dr. Lou said. “There’s not a high number of patients to be able to do the studies.”
“We’re excited to see immunotherapy playing a role,” Dr. Manochakian added, “but we know it’s not the ultimate best treatment.”
That’s where the clinical trial aspect comes into play. The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville is hosting a phase 1 trial involving mesothelioma immunotherapy. There are other studies and ideas in the works, too.
“We know patients will progress and they need other things,” Dr. Manochakian said.
If you live in Florida or another southeastern state and want to receive high-level mesothelioma treatment from the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, contact our medical team. Registered nurse and patient advocate Karen Ritter is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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