Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery

The Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery primarily serves patients with cancers arising in the chest including lung, esophageal, and mediastinal tumors, as well as metastases to the chest from other tumor sites. Efforts are directed at improving treatment results by utilizing minimally invasive techniques and combining surgery with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, gene therapy and novel therapeutics.

Treatment advances in thoracic cancers including lung, esophagus and lung metastases have been slow to develop, even though these cancers are among the most common clinical problems. This clinical and laboratory research is vital to making progress.

Research in the area of gene therapy has now advanced to clinical trials. It is a goal of researchers in the Department to acquire a basic understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to the development and progression of lung cancer and apply these findings to further the development of gene-based prevention and treatment strategies.

Investigation is under way into identifying the genetic events responsible for cancer development, delivering therapeutic genes to cancer cells, and developing new combined treatment approaches--all in an effort to reduce the extent of surgery needed and improve successes.

The research program in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery emphasizes cellular and molecular biology of thoracic cancers, and incorporating that knowledge into the development of novel cancer prevention and treatment strategies.