About Dr. Ripley
Dr. Taylor Ripley previously worked at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Dr. Ripley’s surgical experience is well-balanced, yet focuses heavily on thoracic oncology, including mesothelioma. He is also a proponent of minimally invasive surgical techniques and is leading ground-breaking research in cancer profiling and mesothelioma cell mutation.
Dr. Ripley’s Background
Dr. Robert Taylor Ripley, known more commonly as Dr. Taylor Ripley, began his studies in biochemistry at Boston College, before pursuing medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and graduating in 2004.
Dr. Ripley completed his general surgery residency at the University of Colorado, followed by a fellowship in thoracic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, focusing on thoracic surgical oncology.
During his work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Dr. Ripley worked alongside many of the most significant names in mesothelioma research and surgery. Later, Dr. Ripley became a Thoracic Surgeon and Principal Investigator for the NCI.
Dr. Ripley made a name for himself while working at NCI as an associate professor of surgery for the Thoracic and Oncologic Surgery Branch.
His research work on esophageal adenocarcinoma discovered specific p53-mutations that could be recognized during treatment to determine the likelihood of a favorable outcome, and this discovery won the NCI Director’s Innovation Award in 2016.
Dr. Ripley also created and served on the NCI’s Foregut Team, which focuses on research and clinical trials for patients with tumors in the foregut. This Foregut Team is a multidisciplinary team that operates out of the National Institute of Health.
Baylor College of Medicine
In 2018, Dr. Taylor Ripley was recruited by the late Dr. David Sugarbaker to take his place at Baylor College of Medicine’s St. Luke’s Medical Center, as Director of the world-class Mesothelioma Treatment Center.
He is also an Associate Professor Surgery for Baylor College of Medicine’s thoracic surgery division.
Dr. Ripley’s priority is treating patients with mesothelioma, although he also works with patients who have lung cancer, thymic cancer, esophageal cancer, and metastatic disease.
“My primary clinical focus is on the treatment of patients in the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Additionally, I treat patients with all thoracic cancers including lung cancer, esophageal cancer, thymic cancers, and metastatic disease.”
– Dr. Taylor Ripley
As well as running Baylor’s mesothelioma program, Dr. Ripley continues his groundbreaking research that profiles mitochondrial pathways and protein signals as a method of assessing thoracic cancer outcomes.
This research has displayed promising results and may lead to a significant breakthrough in diagnosing and treating thoracic cancers in the future.
Awards and Contributions
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Dean’s Scholar
- Dan May Scholarship: Basic science research grant
- Albert J. McGuinn Award: Bachelor of Science with excellence in humanities and social sciences
- NCI Director’s Innovation Award (2016)
Memberships and Affiliations
Dr. Ripley is a member of several professional organizations, including:
- American Board of Surgery
- American Board of Thoracic Surgery
- MD State Medical License
- TX State Medical License
- Cardiothoracic Surgery Network
Dr. Ripley has several medical specializations, including thoracic surgery, minimally invasive robotic surgery, and cancer profiling research.
Dr. Ripley has over 10 years of experience working with mesothelioma patients and is board-certified in cardiothoracic surgery. Most of his career has focused on thoracic medicine, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and thymic cancer.
He is professionally interested in chest wall tumors and chest wall reconstruction, making him well-suited to working with pleural mesothelioma patients.
Robotic and VATS Surgery
Dr. Ripley has also been drawn to robotic thoracic surgery and video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and has ample experience with these minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Robotic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery or a type of surgery that uses small cuts to operate. In robotic surgery, the surgeon operates by watching a high-definition screen and using controls to move a robot’s arms. Because the incisions do not have to be as large for robotic surgery, a patient’s recovery time is shorter, and the scars will be smaller and less visible.
VATS can be used during the initial diagnosis of mesothelioma and other chest cancers and during numerous smaller surgical procedures.
“I utilize robotic surgery to minimize the size of surgical incisions whenever feasible.”
– Dr. Taylor Ripley
Although minimally invasive surgery isn’t possible with mesothelioma treatment, having a surgeon who understands when “less is more” is essential.
Patients of Dr. Ripley can rest assured that they are in safe hands, as he is at the forefront of medical innovation and will only do as much as medically necessary to combat any issues.
Dynamic BH3 Cancer Profiling Research
Dr. Ripley is leading new research that helps diagnose and develop better treatment plans for patients with squamous cell carcinoma and esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Dr. Ripley’s research has made a significant discovery about mitochondria and the way they interact with cancer cells. This discovery helps predict how successful treatment may be.
“My clinical and research interests are in the treatment of mesothelioma and esophageal cancer through changing the cellular energetics with a technique called Dynamic BH3 Profiling.”
– Dr. Taylor Ripley
The standard treatment for esophageal cancer patients is neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, followed by surgery.
Dr. Ripley and his colleagues observed that mitochondria play an essential role in cell death (apoptosis) and developed a method of measuring proteins in mitochondria that indicate whether a cell is likely to die soon.
This technique is called Bcl-2 homology domain 3 (BH3) and would be used after chemoradiotherapy but before surgery to determine whether a patient’s tumor is likely to die.
Dr. Ripley is applying this research to mesothelioma cells as well. His team is currently working to map the evolution of mesothelial cells into mesothelioma cells, in an attempt to better understand the mutation process.
Once the process is better understood, Dr. Ripley and his colleagues can find new ways to interrupt or stop the mutation. It’s this biochemical research that very well may lead the world to a cure for mesothelioma.
Dr. Ripley’s Healing Philosophy
Dr. Ripley believes that it is essential to work within a multidisciplinary system, which means that patients who are treated by Dr. Ripley will also see other specialists who work in other fields such as radiation.
“I see an exciting opportunity to contribute to the multidisciplinary approach to patients with mesothelioma as well as all thoracic cancers at Baylor and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, and I look forward to working with teams from across the Lung Institute, Dan L Duncan Cancer Comprehensive Center and Department of Surgery to offer more services to our patients.”
– Dr. Taylor Ripley
Getting Specialized Mesothelioma Treatment
Knowing you have pleural mesothelioma can be scary and overwhelming, but Dr. Ripley gives patients their best chance at survival.
As Director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College, Dr. Ripley has the expertise, skills, and resources to help mesothelioma fight their diagnosis.
People who work with Dr. Ripley recognize him as a highly intelligent expert in his field. He can help patients review their options and develop a treatment plan that works for their personal needs.
If you’re interested in working with Dr. Ripley, or any other pleural mesothelioma experts, contact our team.