About Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler
Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler works for the University of Chicago, where she is the Director of the Mesothelioma Program and the Director of Gastrointestinal Oncology.
She conducts and leads clinical trials and other forms of cancer research to:
- Develop new therapies
- Improve the current methods of treatment
- Find a cure for mesothelioma one day
In addition to her work at the university, she is also an editor of BioOncology Watch and an associate editor of the academic journal Lung Cancer.
Because of her research and these editorial positions, Dr. Kindler is at the forefront of new and current knowledge about mesothelioma treatment and care.
On top of editing the journals, Dr. Kindler has also written many academic articles, book chapters, and review articles. She has also traveled around the world to give lectures and lead discussions at hundreds of scientific meetings because of her expertise in this area.
For all of her work as a doctor and researcher, Dr. Kindler is continuously named on the lists Best Doctors in America, America’s Top Doctors for Cancer, and Top Doctors in Chicago.
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has awarded her the Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to mesothelioma research.
“Mesothelioma isn’t lung cancer. To understand the subtleties of it, you need an expert. Especially at the beginning, it’s important to have someone who is comfortable with the disease, a quarterback who understands all the options out there.”
– Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler
Dr. Kindler received her medical degree from the State University of New York, Buffalo in 1989.
She went to the Los Angeles Medical Center — part of the University of California — to complete her first internal medicine residency. She then completed a second residency at Montefiore Medical Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
After completing her two residencies, she studied oncology and hematology as part of her fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Dr. Kindler is a member of several mesothelioma research organizations, including:
- Chair – Mesothelioma Subcommittee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B
- Member – Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
- Member – International Mesothelioma Interest Group
- Former President – International Mesothelioma Interest Group
- Member – International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
- Member – American Society of Clinical Oncology
- Member – American Association for Cancer Research
Dr. Kindler plays an active role in these organizations. She is a past-president of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, and she has been off the board and several different committees for the other societies and foundations.
- Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award – Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
- Mimi Ashton/ALCASE Award for Outstanding Patient Care
- America’s Top Doctors For Cancer
- America’s Top Doctors
- Chicago Magazine: Top Doctors
- CMS Stage 1 EHR
Dr. Kindler focuses on treating malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.
While there are many different treatment types, the procedures are more effective when they are conducted alongside complementary therapies.
This is why she meets with other medical professionals, like radiologists, nurses, and immunologists weekly to review the cases of the patients under their care. She makes sure that all patient treatment plans are unified and tailored to each individual’s situation.
Pleurectomy and Decortication (P/D)
Dr. Kindler has conducted several studies on using pleurectomy and decortication (P/D) to treat pleural mesothelioma. In P/D, the surgeons remove the diseased pleura — the lining surrounding the lungs (pleurectomy) — and any surrounding tumors (decortication).
In her research, she discovered that the P/D is beneficial. She found that while the patient’s quality of life worsened in the month following the procedure, it did improve afterward.
In one of her studies, she looked at the patients’ quality of life before the surgery and then four more times between 1 and 11 months post-surgery.
Her study also showed that patients’ health-related quality of life improved after receiving P/D.
Furthermore, she noticed that the patients whose quality of life improved the most were also the ones who had the worst symptoms before undergoing surgery.
Another area of research that Dr. Kindler focuses on is targeted therapy.
In targeted therapy, the tumor stops growing or is slowed down by drugs. These drugs focus on specific molecules that help the cancer cells grow or multiply.
One of the benefits of targeted therapy is that the drugs only attack the cancerous cells and leave the surrounding healthy tissues alone. This means that patients recover quicker because their bodies don’t also need to heal from damaged healthy cells.
Unlike chemotherapy — which kills the cancer cells, as well as other normal cells that divide rapidly (such as hair cells) — targeted therapies focus specifically on stopping cancer cells from reproducing.
One type of targeted therapy that she focuses on is using therapeutic drugs such as Bevacizumab and Gemcitabine to interrupt cell signal pathways.
These drugs have shown signs of stopping tumor growth by interrupting cell signal pathways.
The long-term results have not been as positive as the researchers had initially hoped. There is a need for further research in this area because it suggests that reducing signal pathways may be the way to cure mesothelioma.
Dr. Kindler’s clinic is currently participating in a phase 1 clinical trial for the cancer vaccine CRS-207, which is a form of immunotherapy.
In immunotherapy, a patient is given drugs or other substances that help the body’s immune system recognize cancer cells as harmful. Once the body’s immune system knows which cells to target, immunotherapy helps the body’s immune system kill the cancerous cells.
In this study, patients will receive 2 doses of the vaccine with or without cyclophosphamide (which stimulates even more response from the immune system) and then a standard regimen of chemotherapy.
After chemotherapy, the patients will receive an additional 2 rounds of the vaccine.
CRS-207 is a genetically-modified weakened form of the Listeria bacterium. The bacterium has been altered to cause the body’s immune system to react to mesothelin (a tumor-associated antigen) to help the body fight off the disease itself.
Dr. Kindler has led numerous other clinical trials and has published her findings in nearly a hundred medical journals. She has helped shape the medical community’s understanding of the disease and continues to share new discoveries regularly.
Her ongoing work continues to evaluate drug and surgical treatment options for pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients through clinical trials, in hopes of improving patient outcomes and eventually finding a cure.
“So, what about hope for the future? How can we continue to make progress against this disease? Key is to understand the biology of mesothelioma, which will require more funding and lobbying for basic science research.”
– Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler
Getting Specialized Mesothelioma Treatment
Dr. Kindler recognizes the value of a multidisciplinary approach to mesothelioma treatment. She works alongside her surgical counterparts to review and assess patients, including pathologists, radiologists, nurses, and other critical members of the mesothelioma team.
“It’s a whole process that we do, and we do it as part of our multidisciplinary group that meets each week so that we can review patients together and try to come up with a unified treatment plan.”
– Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler
Dr. Kindler works with more than 100 patients each year and many of these individuals have mesothelioma. Because she lost her father to mesothelioma in 2001, she truly understands what her patients are going through.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to undergo treatment administered by specialists like Dr. Kindler.
For more information on seeing a specialist and qualifying for compensation to cover treatment costs, contact our team today.