Robert Taylor Ripley MD

Dr. Taylor Ripley

Dr. Taylor Ripley is a thoracic surgeon, an associate professor of surgery, and the Director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor St Luke’s Medical Center. He was personally selected by the late Dr. David Sugarbaker to be his successor after demonstrating his capabilities in mesothelioma treatment, surgical oncology, and cardiothoracic research.

About Dr. R. Taylor Ripley

Dr. R. Taylor Ripley’s work is primarily focused on thoracic oncology — including mesothelioma — minimally invasive surgical techniques, and research in cancer profiling and mesothelioma cell mutation.

In 2018, Dr. R. Taylor Ripley was personally recruited by Dr. David Sugarbaker to take his place as director of the world-class Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine. He is also an associate professor of surgery for Baylor College of Medicine’s thoracic surgery division.

Dr. Ripley’s priority is treating patients with pleural 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. R. Taylor Ripley

Alongside his work at Baylor College of Medicine, 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.

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Dr. Ripley’s Background

Dr. Taylor Ripley began his studies in biochemistry at Boston College before earning his medical degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

He 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.

Dr. Ripley eventually became a thoracic surgeon and principal investigator for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he also served as an associate professor of surgery for the Thoracic and Oncologic Surgery Branch.

His research on esophageal adenocarcinoma discovered specific p53 mutations that could be recognized during treatment to determine the likelihood of a favorable outcome. This discovery won the NCI Director’s Innovation Award in 2016.

Dr. Ripley also created and served on the NCI’s multidisciplinary Foregut Team, which focuses on research and clinical trials for patients with tumors in the foregut (the section of the upper gastrointestinal tract that includes the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver and bile ducts).

Awards & Honors

  • Albert J. McGuinn Award: Bachelor of Science with Excellence in Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Baylor College of Medicine Faculty Research Award
  • Dan May Scholarship: Basic science research grant
  • Dean’s Scholar
  • NCI Director’s Innovation Award

Professional Affiliations

  • AATS Foundation (Surgical Investigator Program)
  • American Association of Thoracic Surgery (member)
  • Association for Academic Surgeons (member)
  • Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center (member)
  • International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (member)
  • Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (editorial board member)
  • Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Board of Directors)
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Medical Specializations

Dr. Ripley has several medical specializations, including thoracic surgery, minimally invasive robotic surgery, and cancer profiling research.

Thoracic Surgery

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.

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

As one of the nation’s top mesothelioma doctors, Dr. Ripley is at the forefront of medical innovation and will only recommend or perform as much as medically necessary to combat cancer.

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.

His 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.

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.

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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.

“At the Mesothelioma Treatment Center, we provide a comprehensive assessment of patients that includes nutritionists, chaplain, and social workers in addition to medical professionals.

Our goal is to provide a complete evaluation and treatment plan [and] then guide patients through every step of this long and difficult process.”
—Dr. Taylor Ripley

Getting Specialized Treatment From Dr. Ripley

Knowing you have pleural mesothelioma can be stressful and overwhelming, but Dr. Ripley offers his patients their best chance at long-term survival.

As the director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College, Dr. Ripley has the expertise, skills, and resources to help mesothelioma patients 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 best meets their needs.

If you’re interested in working with Dr. Ripley or any other pleural mesothelioma experts, contact our team today.

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

4 References
  1. CTSNet. “R. Taylor Ripley, M.D.” Retrieved from: https://www.ctsnet.org/home/rtripley. Accessed on November 30, 2022.

  2. LinkedIn. “R Taylor Ripley, M.D.” Retrieved from: https://www.linkedin.com/in/r-taylor-ripley-m-d-612644a5. Accessed on November 30, 2022.

  3. Taylor Ripley, R., Surman, D.R., and Diggs, L.P. (2018). Metabolomic and BH3 profiling of esophageal cancers: novel assessment methods for precision therapy. BMC Gastroenterology. 18(94). http://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-018-0823-x

  4. U.S. News & World Report. “Dr. R. Taylor Ripley.” Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/doctors/r-taylor-ripley-581814. Accessed on November 30, 2022.

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