The Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, Missouri is a national and international leader in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, as well as in the treatment of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. Ranked among the best pulmonary and cancer therapy programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Siteman is the cancer research, prevention, and treatment program of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. It was named a National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center two years after it was established, and four years after that, in 2005, achieved Comprehensive Cancer Center status.
Patients seeking care at Siteman Cancer Center are offered comprehensive care, starting with the latest in diagnostic tests and leading to cutting-edge treatments. The Siteman approach to care includes being seen by a multidisciplinary team of Washington University Physicians, nurses, and other caregivers, and patients are offered access to pioneering immunotherapies, targeted treatments, and clinical trials. The facility is home to the most comprehensive radiation therapy technology available and its surgeons use minimally invasive techniques, including robotic surgery to provide patients with quicker recoveries and the best possible outcomes.
Facts about the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center
The Siteman Cancer Center is the only cancer center in Missouri to have been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. It is also a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
The facility is staffed by more than 450 research scientists and physicians who provide care for nearly 70,000 people a year, including 12,000 newly diagnosed patients.
Siteman offers cancer patients throughout the St. Louis area access to cancer care at five satellite sites in addition to its main location.
Scientists and physicians affiliated with Siteman hold more than $145 million annually in basic and clinical oncology research grants.
Siteman patients have access to more than 500 therapeutic clinical trials.
Siteman Cancer Center has a robust outreach program dedicated to researching and reducing cancer disparities and lowering the cancer burden.
Though renamed and established as the Siteman Cancer Center in 1999, the facility dates back to 1905, when the St. Louis Skin and Cancer Hospital was founded to provide free cancer care to the underserved. It was later renamed the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital. In the years that followed, the facility was host to many medical firsts, including the first successful surgical lung removal in 1933, the first cyclotron installation in 1941, and the publication of a landmark study in 1950 that provided the first evidence linking smoking to lung cancer.
In 1972, Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) established one of the country’s first adult bone marrow transplant program, which is currently among the largest in the world. In the same year, researchers at WUSM invented positron emission tomography imaging (PET) and produced a prototype linear accelerator. In 1977 the facility’s Cancer Information Center opened and became a model for providing education and support for cancer patients and their families. Today it serves more than 22,000 people each year. In 1989, a WUSM physician published a landmark study establishing the PSA blood test as an effective screening tool for prostate cancer, and in 1990 a WUSM physician made a Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the mechanism by which genes block programmed cell death.
In 1999, Alvin and Ruth Siteman gifted Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine $35 million, establishing the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. Shortly after, the center’s investigators participated in the STAR trial, one of the largest breast cancer prevention studies ever conducted in the United States, and the National Institutes of Health awarded the center $218.4 million for its Genome Sequencing Center’s work. In 2001, Siteman researchers published the first conclusive evidence that the immune system helps prevent tumor formation, and the center was named a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center. Four years later Siteman was designated a National Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the year after, in 2006, it was selected to join the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. In 2013, Siteman opened the first single-vault proton therapy center in the country, and in 2017 it became one of the first cancer centers in the country to offer CAR-T cell therapy.
Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer Care at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center
Siteman Cancer Center sees over 900 lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma patients each year, providing a high level of expertise and experience. Patients receive personalized care that includes analysis of their genes to guide physicians to the most appropriate therapies and medications. Those who are eligible for surgical removal of their tumor will be treated by physicians skilled in leading-edge procedures including the use of minimally invasive robotic surgeries that preserve as much lung tissue as possible, minimize pain, and shorten recovery time. The facility also makes use of radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted treatments, and provides access to innovative clinical trials.
For those seeking treatment for malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, Siteman Cancer Center is one of the few facilities in the area that offers cytoreduction and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC. By first surgically removing as much of the tumor as possible and then pumping heated chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity, patients can receive much larger doses of the cancer-killing drugs, effectively killing smaller deposits of malignant material that may have been left behind.
The 450 Washington University scientists and physicians who conduct research at Siteman Cancer Center work to incorporate their findings directly into patient treatment. There are several select scientific initiatives currently underway at Siteman, including continued leadership in the genetic changes that drive cancer development and identification of which drugs work best for patients based on their genetic fingerprint. The center is also home to scholars engaged in public health and prevention initiatives and is working with engineers to design goggles that use near-infrared light to assist surgeons in visualizing tumors while also using a biomarker that binds to cancer cells and makes them light up.
Notable Staff and Mesothelioma Specialists
The mesothelioma and lung cancer staff at Siteman Cancer Center include several notable medical oncologists and thoracic surgeons, including Dr. David Morgansztern, Dr. Ramaswamy Govindan, and Dr. Alexander Patterson.
Physicians at the Siteman Cancer Center provide a personalized, multidisciplinary approach to treating patients diagnosed with lung cancer, malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, and other malignancies.