Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler

Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler leads the mesothelioma program at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the world’s top cancer treatment centers. Dr. Kindler is internationally recognized for her expertise in pancreatic cancer and malignant mesothelioma.

About Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler

Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler works at the University of Chicago, where she serves as Director of the Mesothelioma Program and Medical Director of Gastrointestinal Oncology.

She conducts and leads clinical trials and other forms of cancer research to:

  • Develop new therapies
  • Discover a cure for mesothelioma
  • Improve the current methods of treatment

In addition to her work at the university, she is an associate editor of the academic journal Lung Cancer.

Because of her research and these editorial positions, Dr. Kindler is at the forefront of the latest research into mesothelioma treatment.

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Dr. Kindler has also written many academic articles, book chapters, and review articles. She has traveled internationally to present lectures and lead discussions at hundreds of scientific meetings to further share her medical expertise with the world.

In recognition of her contributions as a doctor and researcher, Dr. Kindler is continuously listed as one of the 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

Professional Background

Dr. Kindler received her medical degree from the State University of New York, Buffalo, in 1989.

She then began working at Los Angeles Medical Center — part of the University of California school system — 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.

Affiliations

  • American Association for Cancer Research (member)
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (member)
  • International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (member)
  • International Mesothelioma Interest Group (member)
  • Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (member)
  • Mesothelioma Subcommittee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (chair)

Dr. Kindler plays an active role in these organizations. She is also a past president of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, and has served on the board of various committees for additional organizations, foundations, and societies.

Awards & Honors

  • America’s Top Doctors – Castle Connolly
  • America’s Top Doctors For Cancer – Castle Connolly
  • CMS Stage 1 EHR
  • Mimi Ashton/ALCASE Award for Outstanding Patient Care
  • Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award – Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
  • Top Doctors – Chicago Magazine
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Medical Specializations

Dr. Kindler focuses on treating malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. She also ensures that all patient treatment plans are unified and tailored to each individual’s situation.

A doctor reviews information with a patient

While there are many different treatment types, the procedures are more effective when they are conducted alongside complementary therapies.

For this reason, she collaborates with other medical professionals, like radiologists, nurses, and immunologists to review the cases of the patients under their care.

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 patients’ quality of life before the surgery and then four more times between 1 and 11 months post-surgery.

Her study revealed that patients’ health-related quality of life improved after undergoing a P/D procedure. She also noticed that the patients whose quality of life improved the most were also the ones who had the worst symptoms before undergoing surgery.

Request your Free Mesothelioma Guide to learn more about P/D surgery and other treatments that have helped patients live more comfortably.

Targeted Therapy

Dr. Kindler also focuses on targeted therapy, whereby the tumor stops growing or is slowed down by drugs. As suggested by its name, these drugs target 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.

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Unlike chemotherapy — which kills cancer cells, as well as other normal cells that divide rapidly (such as hair cells) — targeted therapy focuses 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.

Immunotherapy

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.

“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

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.

Clinical Trials

Dr. Kindler has led numerous other clinical trials and has published her findings in more than 100 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.

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Multidisciplinary Care

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.

Get Connected With Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to seek out treatment administered by top specialists like Dr. Kindler.

Contact our Patient Advocates today for additional information on visiting a specialist and qualifying for compensation to cover your treatment costs.

Mesothelioma Hope has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler. Any contact information listed is for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler directly.

Written by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 14 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

7 References
  1. Castle Connolly. “Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler, MD.” Retrieved from: https://www.castleconnolly.com/top-doctors/hedy-l-kindler-medical-oncology-61cc000161. Accessed on November 28, 2022.

  2. Podomatic. “Focus on Mesothelioma Centers of Excellence: Hedy Lee Kindler, MD, University of Chicago Medicine.” Retrieved from: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/curemeso/episodes/2015-04-27T13_39_58-07_00. Accessed on November 28, 2022.

  3. UChicago Medicine. “Hedy Lee Kindler, MD.” Retrieved from: http://www.uchospitals.edu/physicians/hedy-kindler.html. Accessed on November 28, 2022.

  4. The University of Chicago Department of Medicine. “Hedy Kindler.” Retrieved from: http://med-faculty.bsd.uchicago.edu/Default/Details/6168. Accessed on November 28, 2022.

  5. The University of Chicago. “Hedy Kindler.” Retrieved from: https://profiles.uchicago.edu/profiles/display/38348. Accessed on November 28, 2022.

  6. U.S. News & World Report. “Dr. Hedy L. Kindler, MD.” Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/doctors/hedy-kindler-8702. Accessed on November 28, 2022.

  7. YouTube. “2010 ADAO AAC: Dr. Hedy Kindler, Malignant Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DBXiC2Kh2I. Accessed on November 28, 2022.

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