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Tawee Tanvetyanon, M.D.

Dr. Tawee Tanvetyanon is a medical and research oncologist with expertise in thoracic cancers and cancers of the head and neck. He specializes in both lung cancer and mesothelioma, both types of cancers that may be caused by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is particularly challenging to diagnose and treat and Dr. Tanvetyanon has devoted some of his research and clinical time to working on this cancer, including using hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, an innovative new treatment.

Education and Early Career

Dr. Tanvetyanon was born and raised in Thailand, where he completed medical school at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. He completed an internship shortly after graduating in 1996 at the Albert Einstein Medical Center at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Pennsylvania. After completing that program, Dr. Tanvetyanon went on to study hematology and medical oncology at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago.

Thanks to his extensive education and experience, Dr. Tanvetyanon is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hematology and he specializes in lung cancer, mesothelioma, breast cancer, bone cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck cancers, prostate cancer, and adjuvant chemotherapy treatments.

Career in Tampa

Dr. Tanvetyanon’s work on mesothelioma began in earnest when he came to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, one of the top cancer treatment and research facilities in the country. There he is a crucial part of the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center, one of the few medical facilities in the U.S. that focuses on treating, diagnosing, and studying mesothelioma.

Dr. Tanvetyanon’s role at Moffitt is largely in conducting research, although he does work with patients in the clinical trials that he leads. In addition to being part of the research team at Moffitt, he is also an assistant professor at the University of South Florida in the College of Medicine Department of Oncologic Sciences.

Research Interests

While working in research at Moffitt, Dr. Tanvetyanon has authored or co-authored more than 50 studies in scholarly journals. His research interests extend from linking mesothelioma cases to asbestos exposure to developing better palliative care for patients being treated for mesothelioma and other types of cancer. Dr. Tanvetyanon is making real improvements in patient care by studying things like how to better measure levels of care to improve treatment, pain relief, and relief of side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

His work has also investigated the complications caused by cancer treatment and how they can be avoided, prevented, or treated to help patients enjoy a better quality of life. The conditions he has studied include bone disease, fatigue, anemia, blood clotting disorders, and erectile dysfunction. Dr. Tanvetyanon also researches the use of adjuvant treatment with chemotherapy and using PET scans before chemotherapy and to help improve patient outcomes and survival times.

Clinical Trials

An important part of Dr. Tanvetyanon’s research is conducting and leading clinical trials with actual patients. These are trials that allow mesothelioma patients with few other treatment options or hope of survival to try innovative and still unapproved treatments. Some of his clinical trials include studying new chemotherapy drugs and new screenings for lung cancer and for tumor antigens to advance immunotherapy research. He has also conducted trials that are looking into using radiation and chemotherapy at the same time, better ways to track the progression of cancer, and a team approach to treating patients.

Clinical trials are important for developing new treatments, palliative care, and diagnostic techniques for different types of cancer, including mesothelioma. They are also potential sources of advanced treatment for patients who have run out of other options. The kind of work that Dr. Tanvetyanon does is so important for advancing knowledge of cancer, but also for helping real people.

Dr. Tanvetyanon is a young and promising researcher and leader of clinical trials in mesothelioma and other cancers. He has won awards for his work including the 2005 American Society of Clinical Oncology Merit Award and two Patients’ Choice Awards in 2008 and 2009. You can contact the Moffitt Cancer Center to get in touch with Dr. Tanvetyanon, or talk to your doctor about potentially participating in clinical trials.

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