August 30, 2012
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital continues to be the leader in the region in fighting the deadliest of cancers — pancreatic cancer.
This month, Charles J. Yeo, MD, FACS, the Samuel D. Gross Professor and Chair of Surgery, and a co-director of the Jefferson Pancreas, Biliary and Related Cancer Center, performed his 500th Whipple procedure at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, a life-saving surgery for those suffering with the disease. He and his team at the Center have performed more than 800 Whipple procedures and more than 1,100 pancreatic resections since 2006 -- more than any other hospital in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Dr. Yeo’s milestone makes him the #2 surgeon in the world for this type of surgery. John Cameron, MD, at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Yeo’s mentor, is #1. Dr. Yeo credits much of his skill to the training he received under Dr. Cameron starting in the mid-1980s.
“I learned among a group of hard-driving, forward-thinking pancreatic surgeons,” he recalled. “Now, those adjectives can just as easily describe our own team, which is passing the torch on to residents and fellows. Our chief residents participate in more than 25 pancreatic resections during their residency, compared to an average of one in most hospitals. Just think of what that does for their education.”
“One of the reasons our program has been so successful is that we have three laboratories in the Department of Surgery using tissue from our resections to study the basic molecular biology and genetics of pancreatic cancer,” added Dr. Yeo. “The studies at these laboratories, under the supervision of Hwyda Arafat, MD, PhD, Jonathan Brody, PhD, and Susan Lanza-Jacoby, PhD, are giving us some great opportunities and very impressive data on novel therapies.”
Another initiative that adds to Jefferson’s momentum is the Jefferson Pancreas Tumor Registry, directed by Harish Lavu, MD, and Theresa Yeo, PhD. "By having patients and their families record data about their medical histories and lifestyles, we can advance our understanding of the differences between sporadic and familial pancreatic cancer,” he explained.
Dr. Yeo is also Editor-in-Chief of the seventh edition of the two-volume Shackelford's Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, just released. The volumes are the premier resource for residents, medical students, practicing gastroenterologists and gastrointestinal surgeons.
The volumes total more than 2,100 pages, feature more than 180 chapters, and include contributions from Jefferson surgeons.