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Hedy Lee Kindler, M.D.

Most doctors don’t come to specialize in mesothelioma until they have worked in the field and come across this challenging disease in the line of work. This was not the case for Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler. Her father passed away from mesothelioma and that triggered her passion for helping others who are struggling because of this rare and asbestos-related cancer.

Dr. Kindler is a gastrointestinal oncologist at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. She directs the gastrointestinal oncology program there as well as the Mesothelioma Program and is an associate professor of medicine. She has contributed to and led many research projects on cancer and mesothelioma and has also participated in running clinical trials testing new treatments for patients.

Education

Dr. Kindler, unlike many physicians, was touched by a personal experience with mesothelioma that drove her to dedicate her professional life to medicine, cancer, and this one type of cancer in particular. Her education began with an undergraduate degree in biology from Yale University, followed by her medical degree from the State University of New York.

After earning her medical degree, Dr. Kindler completed internal medicine residency programs at the University of California Los Angeles and the Montefiore Medical Center. She really focused in on mesothelioma through a fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Boston, a leading treatment and research center for mesothelioma patients. For her fellowship she focused on oncology and hematology.

Current Position

After finishing her fellowship in Boston, Dr. Kindler spent three years at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York before coming to Chicago. She currently holds three professional positions at the University of Chicago: Professor of Medicine, Director of the Mesothelioma Program, and Director of Gastrointestinal Oncology. In addition to treating mesothelioma patients, she specializes in pancreatic cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

Contributions to Mesothelioma Research

Dr. Kindler is devoted to helping patients living with difficult cancers, especially mesothelioma, which means she provides care and treatment. But she also contributes to furthering the knowledge of these diseases and to developing better treatment strategies and patient care. For mesothelioma, her research has largely focused on chemotherapy drugs, including Gemcitabine and Alimta.

She also oversees numerous clinical trials, including phase II studies investigating the safety and the efficacy of high-dose chemotherapy drugs. Another example of a clinical trial she has led involved comparing CT scans and techniques to make better, more accurate diagnoses of mesothelioma. Her research has been published in more than 100 journal articles and she has also presented her findings at conferences.

Professional Organizations and Honors

As a leading expert in mesothelioma and a dedicated physician and researcher, Dr. Kindler has received many accolades and belongs to a number of professional organizations. These include the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Mesothelioma Foundation, the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, and the American Association for Cancer Research.

Dr. Kindler has also served leadership roles in some of these organizations, including as president of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group. She acts as an associate editor for the journal Lung Cancer and has published many of her own studies and co-authored others. She is active on committees including the National Cancer Institute Pancreatic Task Force and the Mesothelioma Foundation’s Science Advisory Board.

Dr. Kindler has been named a top doctor in the U.S. and in Chicago several times and was awarded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also won research and patient care awards, including Mimi Ashton/ALCASE Award for Outstanding Patient Care.

As a true mesothelioma expert Dr. Kindler sees over 100 mesothelioma patients each year, while other doctors may see one or none. She is dedicated to providing these patients with the best care and treatment and to turning mesothelioma into a manageable chronic condition instead of a death sentence. She works for awareness of the harm that asbestos can cause, which she saw firsthand with her own father.

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