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David Bartlett M.D.

Dr. David Bartlett is currently the chief of surgical oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical College’s Department of Surgery. He also directs the David C. Koch Regional Perfusion Cancer Therapy Center, a part of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and is the Dr. Bernard Fisher Professor of Surgery at the Medical College.

Dr. Bartlett is a leading expert in cancer surgery and specializes in abdominal cancers, including peritoneal mesothelioma, the second most common type of mesothelioma after the pleural form. He not only treats patients and performs life-saving procedures; Dr. Bartlett is also actively engaged in research that is changing how these cancers are treated.

Education and Early Career

Dr. Bartlett earned his undergraduate degree from Rice University in Houston, followed by medical school at the University of Texas Medical School, also in Houston. While earning his medical degree, he also was awarded the Sansoz Award in recognition of excellent academic achievement. He completed his residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a fellowship in surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Surgical Cancer Center in New York City.

He also completed research fellowships at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston and the Harrison Department of Surgical Research at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bartlett’s clinical fellowship and a fellowship in oncology surgery were conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Surgical Cancer Center. During his surgical oncology fellowship, Dr. Bartlett was given an award by the American Cancer Society for clinical oncology.

After completing his education and before taking his current position as chief of oncology surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Bartlett worked as a special expert for the National Cancer Institute’s Surgery Branch. He then became senior investigator for the National Cancer Surgery Branch and assistant professor for the University of Health Services Uniformed Services.

A New Treatment for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

One of Dr. Bartlett’s major accomplishments in the field of treating mesothelioma was to help develop a novel strategy called regional perfusion. This surgical procedure allows doctors to administer chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumors in the abdominal cavity. The procedure has been used with patients who did not respond well to traditional chemotherapy, a treatment procedure that circulates chemotherapy drugs throughout the entire body.

This more direct approach allows doctors to target just one organ or group of organs to better isolate and treat tumors. It has given many patients with this difficult to treat cancer hope that there is a treatment for them after all. Dr. Bartlett has also been an important contributor to the technique of using heated chemotherapy drugs circulating through the abdominal cavity, a strategy that shows great promise in treating peritoneal mesothelioma.

Gene Therapy Research

Dr. Bartlett’s leadership roles at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center allow him to guide the research that is finding exciting new information about cancer and mesothelioma. In addition to treatment strategies such as regional perfusion, Dr. Bartlett is also working on gene therapy research. His current research includes using the smallpox vaccine virus to treat cancer. The virus is genetically altered so that it can be used to deliver gene therapy right to the cancer cells in tumors.

Honors and Awards

Dr. Bartlett’s work and dedication to cancer and mesothelioma treatment and research have earned him the respect of peers and several distinguished honors. In 2011 he won the UPCI Leo H. Creip Award for Excellence in Patient Care. He won the ACES award for Excellence in Patient Care the following year. In 2014 he was presented with the American Society of Peritoneal Surface Malignancies Person of the Year Award.

Dr. Bartlett is also a member of several professional organizations, including the American medical Association, the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American College of Surgeons, the Society of University Surgeons, and several other premier organizations.

For patients struggling with peritoneal mesothelioma, a type of cancer that is very rare and gets little attention, working with Dr. Bartlett can be life-changing. He has spent much of his career and research working with patients and developing better ways to treat those living with this cancer.

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