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The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is one of the country’s leading cancer treatment facilities. The facility opened in 1986 and is well-known as a leader in innovative treatment and cutting-edge research. Moffitt is a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. The Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center, established in 2012, and the Thoracic Oncology Department provide patients with multi-disciplinary and multi-modal treatment plans, as well as access to clinical trials.
The history of the Moffitt Cancer Center dates back to 1978. In 1978, Florida state representative H. Lee Moffitt raised interest in opening a cancer center in Tampa. Moffitt had personally survived cancer, though he had lost several friends to the disease. He wanted Tampa to become a recognized center for cancer treatment and research. Moffitt faced several roadblocks. However, he committed to succeed, not only because of his personal experiences with cancer, but also because Florida’s cancer rates were so high.
Eventually, Moffitt was successful. In 1981, the Florida legislature approved $600,000 for the planning of a 240-bed cancer facility. Later that same year, the legislature approved an additional $3.5 million for the center’s construction. A cigarette tax was proposed to help fund the new cancer center, a fitting source of funds for the new medical facility. The cancer center opened its doors in 1986.
The Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center
The Moffitt Cancer Center has several divisions within it, including the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center. Knowing mesothelioma patients experience the best outcomes when receiving treatment at a specialized facility, Moffitt added this treatment center in 2012. Patients do not need a referral for treatment at the center, which offers personalized treatment plans, a collaborative approach to treatment, and access to new and as-yet unavailable treatments.
A Team of Experts
Experts in cancer and mesothelioma staff the Moffitt Cancer Center and Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center. These experts are all part of the thoracic oncology department and are led by medical oncologist Dr. Scott Antonia. Dr. Antonia trained in oncology and immunobiology and has been at Moffitt since 1994. His research focuses on using immunotherapies to treat cancer patients. Also on staff are pathologists, pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, and radiologists.
Mesothelioma Treatment at Moffitt
Because it offers such a diverse array of treatment options, the Moffitt Cancer Center offers each patient hope. Individuals benefit from the best care from specialists who form a multi-disciplinary team, all collaborating for treatment.
Treatments offered at Moffitt include several surgical procedures. Extrapleural pneumonectomy, a radical surgery that can potentially cure mesthelioma, is offered here. This surgery removes and entire lung and can only be performed by surgeons experienced with the procedure. Also available at Moffitt, patients may opt for the less radical pleurectomy/decortication surgery.
Most patients benefit from surgery. Doctors often combine surgery and other treatments to increase their effectiveness. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, brachytherapy, heated intraoperative peritoneal chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or tomotherapy may be used in conjunction with surgery to offer the best results possible.
A Comprehensive Cancer Center
Moffitt Cancer Center has been designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. This designation means Moffitt is part of a national network of facilities dedicated to cancer treatment and research. This network of facilities is funded by the NCI and National Institute of Health. To receive this designation, a facility must provide innovative treatments and excellent patient care. This network of cancer centers also plays a key role in translating research into real and effective treatments for patients.
Research at Moffitt
At Moffitt, researchers collaborate on many projects that fall under five major categories of research. These five categories are cancer epidemiology, chemical biology and molecular medicine, cancer biology and evolution, immunology, and health outcomes and behavior.
Moffitt also participates in ORIEN, the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network. This is a research partnership that connects cancer research institutes in North America by creating and maintaining a database of patient information. Researchers can access this information to collaborate with others and conduct better, more effective research.
Some examples of Moffitt’s research include developing novel drugs for treatment, immune cell therapies, and vaccines to treat cancers.
Clinical trials conducted at Moffitt are important for cancer research. These trials use real patients to determine the safety and effectiveness of new treatments. Not only clinical trials help develop better treatments, they also give patients more treatment options.
Researchers and clinicians at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center are leading the way in cancer research and treatment. With a special department devoted to mesothelioma, this Tampa facility is also becoming a leader in treatment of this most challenging of cancers. Patients do not need a referral and are welcome to contact the Center to get started on a mesothelioma treatment plan.
Page Edited by Patient Advocate Dave Foster
Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.