The International Mesothelioma Program

About The International Mesothelioma Program (IMP)

David J. Sugarbaker, M.D., founded the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) in 2002. The program was created in response to the rising incidence of mesothelioma worldwide; the unknown long-term effects of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th, 2001; and the limitations of available therapy.

The program is now led by Raphael Bueno, MD, and it encompasses both a clinical and a research program. The clinical focus is on developing treatment strategies that can significantly extend the life of patients. The research focus is to understand the causative factors in the development of the disease and to translate these findings into improved therapy. The program involves a multidisciplinary collaboration of surgeons, pulmonologists, oncologists, nurses, radiologists, pathologists, researchers, and medical and social science professionals.

Ultimately, the objectives of the program are to offer state-of-the-art treatment and to provide potentially curative therapy to patients with malignant mesothelioma while extending and improving quality of life. To date, the program has provided care to more then 2,500 patients. Together with the newly established Lung Center at BWH, more resources than ever are available for mesothelioma patients

The goals of the IMP include:

  • Pioneering the latest, most advanced therapies through clinical and research collaboration
  • Coordinating a translational research program to develop new diagnostic and screening tools and treatment options
  • Characterizing in depth each patient’s exposure to a large panel of suspected carcinogens by collaborating with a dedicated epidemiologist to collect historical data looking for risk factors leading to the development of MPM
  • Providing the infrastructure of clinical materials, cell lines, animal models and pilot funding to assist talented scientists in their studies of biological mechanisms of mesothelioma initiation and progression
  • Broadening the availability of assessment and therapy by training additional specialists
  • Building a database of patients with the goal of identifying geographical areas for outreach and development of satellite centers
  • Establishing satellite assessment centers in selected international institutions in high-prevalence areas
  • Identifying international centers for potential research collaborations

Recent advancements by the IMP include new genetic insights indicating that there are four different types of mesothelioma, research towards potential immunotherapy options for patients, and clinical trials regarding the effectiveness of existing cancer drugs to fight mesothelioma. The success in the fight against mesothelioma will be the direct result of the hard work and effort of these dedicated professionals.

All proceeds from the Stevan E. Downey Memorial Golf Tournament are donated directly to the IMP.

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