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The Moores Cancer Center at the University of California in San Diego is a leading cancer research and treatment facility with a philosophy that involves collaboration among experts and the development of personalized and genetically-targeted treatment plans. This goes for all cancers, including rare types like mesothelioma.
Through the Rare Tumor Clinic and the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy, Moores offers even those patients with little hope a chance to get the best care. These patients also benefit from the extensive and innovative treatments that researchers are conducting here, as well as participation in clinical trials.
About Moores Cancer Center – A Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego is a Comprehensive Cancer Center as designated by the National Cancer Institute. Only facilities that provide top-notch treatment and conduct cutting edge research receive this designation along with government funding for research projects and clinical trials. Cancer Centers like Moores are also recognized for education, prevention, and community work to advance the cause of eliminating cancer.
Moores was founded in 1978 with a mission to save lives through care, prevention, and diagnosis of cancer. The goal is to improve how we treat cancer, teach people and prevent cancer, and to detect and diagnose the disease better. The Cancer Center begins with innovative research and translates that into real solutions for cancer patients. That care is brought to patients through a multi-disciplinary approach, with teams of experts in oncology, surgery, radiology, and other areas of medicine collaborating to develop personalized treatment plans.
The Rare Tumor Clinic
Moores treats patients with all types of cancer, but is unique in offering specialized services for some of the rarest cancers. These cancers force many other medical centers to turn patients away. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer; most hospitals only see one or two cases per year and often are not equipped to treat the patients. These patients need to be referred somewhere with experts in mesothelioma, like the Rare Tumor Clinic at Moores.
At the Rare Tumor Clinic, specialists work with patients that have one or more of the 80 rarest tumors known. Collaborative teams create individualized treatment plans that include standard therapies like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, but also more innovative treatments like immunotherapy and those offered by ongoing clinical trials.
Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy
Moores believes the future of cancer care is precise and personalized. No two people with cancer, even with the same type of cancer, are the same, and consequently, they should not have the same treatment plan. Moores houses a department called the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy, headed by Dr. Razelle Kurzrock.
The Center specializes in using genetics and immunotherapy to ensure that each patient gets the best and most personal treatment. It starts with a test of a patient’s genetic profile. This, along with medical history and other information, is reviewed by the Molecular Tumor Board, a group of physicians and specialists who collaborate by discussing and reviewing each patient to determine the best course of action. Their review leads to a recommendation for treatment.
Leaders in HIPEC for Peritoneal Mesothelioma
The Moores Cancer Center is known for its innovative treatments that come from research programs, including its part in developing an important treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma. Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy, or HIPEC, has extended the lives of many patients. It involves using cytoreductive surgery to remove as much of the visible tumors as possible from the abdominal cavity of patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.
Surgery is then followed by the circulation of heated chemotherapy drugs through the abdominal cavity. The organs and tissues get bathed in the cancer-killing drugs, which seek out and kill the small tumors and individual cancer cells that the surgeon could not see or remove. Experienced surgeons and oncologists at Moores offer this treatment for patients who can benefit from it.
Clinical Trials and the Experimental Therapeutics Program
Clinical trials are tests of new treatments using actual patients. These trials increase in size as they progress through several phases, but the main goals are to determine if a treatment is safe and if it is effective. For cancer patients, participating in clinical trials means having more treatment options, including those at the leading edge of research.
At Moores Cancer Center, the Experimental Therapeutics Program helps place patients in these trials, determining which trials will be most helpful for an individual patient and ensuring that a patient gets access to leading treatments whenever possible. Clinical trials that researchers at Moores are working on include PREDICT, Profile Related Evidence Determining Individualized Cancer Therapy. This project is helping to determine if patients have better outcomes when treated according to their genetic profiles.
Another example of a Moores clinical trial is the Liquid Biopsy in Precision Cancer Medicine Program. The researchers are determining if a blood sample can be used to predict a patient’s outcome or to determine how well a patient is responding to treatment. Moores researchers are also conducting several trials investigating the use of immunotherapy to treat cancers including mesothelioma.
Moores Cancer Center is a leader in treating and researching all types of cancer, but is especially making an impact by tackling some of the most rare cancer types, including mesothelioma. Patients affected by these rare cancers need experts, who are few and far between. They need to be able to come to a facility like Moores, where they can get genetic screening and the benefits of teams of experts analyzing their medical histories and genetics to create the best treatment plans. Along with cutting edge research, excellent patient care makes this cancer center stand out as a leader in its field.
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.