In November 2012, the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) Mesothelioma Research Program hosted a 2 day visit by Dr. Keith Cengel, a specialist in radiation oncology and photodynamic therapy (PDT) from the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Dr. Cengel gave two lectures, the first on emerging technologies for image guided radiotherapy followed by a second on photodynamic therapy for mesothelioma and other thoracic diseases. Photodynamic therapy is a promising new treatment for mesothelioma patients that uses light energy to kill cancer cells. Dr Cengel and other researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania have shown that when used in combination with lung-sparing surgery, survival rates of patients with pleural mesothelioma are significantly improved, sometimes more than two years.
The objective of Dr. Cengel's visit was to give the PMH mesothelioma research team an overview of his research and the results of PDT in mesothelioma. Both lectures were well attended by surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and physicists from Toronto General Hospital and Princess Margaret Cancer Center. As a result of this visit, the University Health Network (UHN) Mesothelioma Research Program is planning to start photodynamic therapy in selected patients with mesothelioma and, as well, will develop collaborative work with the research team in Philadelphia.
Dr. Cengel's visit was made possible by the CMF's Education and Training Fund. This special educational grant was given to the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation in Toronto in 2011 and in 2012 to the UHN by the CMF for their Mesothelioma Research Program. The Fund was established to expand the educational mandate of their Program. Learn more about the CMF fund here.