- Address 5814 S Maryland Ave. MC 1140, H212 Chicago, IL 60637
- Director, Mesothelioma Program Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler
About the University of Chicago Cancer Center
The University of Chicago Cancer Center (UCCC) was founded in 1973 as a Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) within the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.
The facility is one of 47 CCCs across the country designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States.
The UCCC’s Comprehensive Cancer Center designation means it’s recognized as a highly equipped research facility that applies new and novel treatments. All CCCs share a common goal — to use laboratory and prevention research with clinical trials to treat cancers.
As one of the two CCCs in Illinois, the facility has earned a reputation for innovation and excellence.
Leadership at the University of Chicago Cancer Center
With the help of a collaborative research program comprised of more than 200 distinguished researchers and physicians, UCCC has emerged as a leading cancer treatment center.
The first director of the facility was John Ultmann, who specialized in diagnosing, staging and treating Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, along with developing chemotherapy treatment.
The current director is Michelle Le Beau, who has helped the facility expand the scope of research programs and launch a comprehensive community engagement program.
The program is focused on increasing public awareness around cancer prevention, detection, treatment and the role of genes in cancer development.
A deep commitment to research and clinical trials paired with a long list of specialized physicians and researchers has enabled UCCC to bring cancer patients new hope.
Individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma can expect the highest quality of care if they choose to seek treatment at UCCC.
University of Chicago Cancer Center’s Mesothelioma Program
Mesothelioma patients from the Illinois area can feel a sense of comfort knowing they’re receiving the highest quality treatment close to home.
The center’s mesothelioma program is the largest in the country and offers treatment to patients throughout the greater Midwest.
The UCCC has a multidisciplinary team of experts devoted to mesothelioma diagnosis, treatment, and research.
The UCCC has been a leader in the treatment and research of mesothelioma for over 25 years.
A key feature of the program is that it offers targeted chemotherapy technology, HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion) — a direct chemotherapy solution applied to affected organs and optimized to destroy mesothelioma cells after surgery.
The UCCC’s mesothelioma program is made up of:
- Thoracic surgeons
- Imaging specialists
Treating Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Most cancer centers have teams within their lung treatment departments that are dedicated to treating pleural (lung) mesothelioma but lack the specialization to treat cases of mesothelioma arising in the peritoneal (abdomen) cavity.
Patient Experience at the University of Chicago Cancer Center
With the UCCC being designated as a comprehensive cancer center, mesothelioma patients and their families can expect the highest quality of care. The facility understands that treatment can be a stressful and complicated process.
We have a team that thinks about the treatment of every single patient. We sit down every week and consult with our genetic specialists and researchers to develop a tailored treatment plan for each patient. – Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler, Director of the Mesothelioma Program
The UCCC is a multidisciplinary clinic, meaning that patients can receive all elements of their care in one day.
The Mesothelioma Program includes surgeons, oncologists, along with palliative care and symptom management teams dedicated to treating mesothelioma patients.
Additional Patient Support
A unique benefit of the patient experience at UCC is a dedicated nurse navigator whose role is to coordinate care for mesothelioma patients.
Sometimes mesothelioma care falls under the umbrella of lung cancer, but it is a different disease with different symptoms that require specialized care and coordination. – Burkey Rose, Nurse Navigator for the Mesothelioma Program
Having a dedicated nurse alleviates a lot of stress from patients and families and improves the overall treatment experience. Nurse navigators help coordinator appointments and are there to support ongoing challenges mesothelioma patients face.
The UCCC also has a social worker who can provide resources for patients who travel to receive treatment at the facility.
These features help alleviate the discomfort of patients having to make multiple appointments when visiting the clinic.
Mesothelioma Specialists at the University of Chicago Cancer Center
The UCCC’s Mesothelioma Program is supported by a wide range of medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and surgeons who specialize in treating this rare cancer.
Hedy Lee Kindler, MD
Hedy Lee Kindler, MD is the Director of the Mesothelioma Program at UCCC and is an internationally recognized expert in treating mesothelioma.
Dr. Kindler has repeatedly been listed in Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors for Cancer.
Her research is focused on the investigation of new agents to treat mesothelioma and she is dedicated to creating and leading innovative clinical trials for patients affected by the disease.
Mesothelioma Treatment Options at UCCC
Depending on mesothelioma location, stage and cell type, treatments at UCCC can include surgery, chemotherapy, and occasionally radiation.
Treatment options for mesothelioma can very often also include ongoing clinical trials at UCCC.
Standard mesothelioma treatments available at the UCCC include:
- Surgery: Surgeons at the UCCC may recommend pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) or extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) procedures for treating pleural mesothelioma. The facility also has the equipment and specialists to complete these surgeries using minimally invasive techniques that involve robotics and video-guided processes.
- Chemotherapy: Specialized oncologists at the UCCC may use chemotherapy to shrink a patient’s mesothelioma tumor. Common chemotherapy drugs include Alimta and cisplatin, however, the cancer center is dedicated to finding new and effective agents through ongoing clinical trials.
- HIPEC: A key feature of the facilities Mesothelioma Program is the availability of HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion). HIPEC is a targeted therapy that delivers heated chemotherapy directly to the abdomen to treat any remaining cancer cells following surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma.
- Radiation: The radiation oncologists at the UCCC may recommend radiation treatment to shrink mesothelioma masses and cells. This treatment involves a machine that delivers charged particles to the diseased location to scramble cancer cell DNA.
Clinical Trials and Research at UCCC
The UCCC is leading the way in biomedical research and discoveries to help medical professionals better fight, screen, and prevent cancer.
The primary goal of their Mesothelioma Program is to identify and develop treatment options to extend patient survival and improve quality of life.
While practicing at the UCCC in 2002, Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang conducted research that showed that mixing cisplatin and pemetrexed (two standard mesothelioma chemotherapy drugs) has benefits for pleural mesothelioma patients.
The chemotherapy drug combination has the potential to prolong the lives of patients and reduce their side effects and symptoms.
As of May 2018, there are 10 active clinical trials taking place at the UCCC — 5 are in Phase I, 3 are in Phase II and 2 are in Phase III.
The UCCC has prioritized ongoing testing of promising new treatments for mesothelioma, including chemotherapy, targeted agents, and immunotherapies combined with surgery.
Many of the clinical trials conducted at the UCCC are performed with the National Cancer Institute.
University of Chicago Cancer Center Insurance Information
The UCCC currently accepts a long list of insurance providers.
Some of which include:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Great-West Healthcare
- Health Alliance
- Healthcare’s Finest Network
- United Healthcare
Please be in touch with the UCCC for a complete list of providers, and keep in mind the list is subject to change at any time.
Be sure to contact your insurance provider to confirm coverage before scheduling an appointment.
Seeking Treatment at the University of Chicago Cancer Center
A specialized team, participation in hundreds of clinical trials and access to state-of-the-art equipment and technologies have allowed the UCCC to emerge as a leader in mesothelioma treatment.
Patients undergoing treatment at the UCCC can rest assured they are in the hands of the nation’s top specialists.
Contact our team today to learn more about mesothelioma treatment centers like the University of Chicago Cancer Center.