Acclaimed thoracic surgeon brings expertise in minimally invasive lung and chest surgery

DALLAS – Sept. 30, 2011 – UT Southwestern Medical Center has recruited Dr. Kemp Kernstine, a nationally renowned expert in minimally invasive lung and chest surgery, to further strengthen its arsenal of lung cancer treatment options.

Lung cancer kills nearly 160,000 people in the U.S. annually – more than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers combined. The current standard lung cancer surgery is a lobectomy, or removal of the lobe.

Dr. Kemp Kernstine

Dr. Kernstine, the new chair of the thoracic surgery division, is recognized as a pioneer in minimally invasive surgical techniques for the most lethal form of cancer in the U.S. Dr. Kernstine designed many of the robotic chest surgery procedures in use today and he travels the world teaching the advanced technology.

“UT Southwestern has an elite team of people, from basic scientists to clinicians, assembled here to fight lung malignancies,” Dr. Kernstine said.

Dr. Joan Schiller, chief of hematology/oncology at UT Southwestern and deputy director of the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center, said the center’s expertise in leading-edge techniques benefits high-risk patients, in particular.

“Dr. Kernstine’s expertise in robotic surgery will mean smaller incisions and shorter-term hospitalizations for lung cancer patients,” said Dr. Schiller.

Prior to joining UT Southwestern, Dr. Kernstine was director of the lung cancer and thoracic oncology program at City of Hope Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center near Los Angeles.

Dr. Kernstine earned his medical degree from Duke University and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota, where he completed a research fellowship and residency in general surgery, followed by residencies in cardiac surgery and general thoracic surgery at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“Our progress in the management of lung cancer has been due to teams of physicians working together with complementary but different expertise,” said Dr. James K. V. Willson, director of the Simmons Center, the only NCI-designated cancer center in North Texas. “The treatment options that lung cancer patients have available to them are most important for increasing the potential for successful treatment.”

Other experts in lung cancer care at UT Southwestern include:

• Drs. Hak Choy, chairman of radiation oncology, and Robert Timmerman, vice chairman of radiation oncology and professor of neurological surgery, leaders of national research about stereotactic body radiation therapy, or SBRT. UT Southwestern was the first institution in North America to install and use the Vero SBRT system.

• Drs. H. Thomas Chiu, assistant professor of internal medicine, and Muhanned Abu-Hijleh, associate professor of internal medicine, the only two interventional pulmonologists in the area who specialize in using minimally invasive techniques to perform advanced diagnostic and staging procedures to treat lung cancer complications in the airways and pleural spaces.

• Dr. Adi Gazdar, professor of pathology in the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research, who tackles the genetics of lung cancer, leading to earlier detection in patients.

• Dr. David Johnson, chairman of internal medicine, an internationally acclaimed oncologist with specific expertise in the management of patients with lung cancer. His research has focused on lung cancer trials, serum proteomics in detection and genetic determinants of risk and outcome.

• Dr. John Minna, director of the Hamon Center and the W.A. “Tex” and Deborah Moncrief Jr. Center for Cancer Genetics, who, along with Dr. Schiller, is finding drugs that target genetic mutations in some lung cancer patients.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in cancer.


Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson

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