Thoracic Surgery Research

Thoracic surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) provide highly advanced surgical care, working one-on-one with patients to create treatment plans just for them. They also work diligently behind the scenes, as active scientific researchers. The research studies, clinical trials and scientific discoveries completed by BWH thoracic surgeons have led to revolutionary innovations in the field of thoracic surgery.

Thoracic surgery research involves many projects that have emerged from years of interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration among researchers at BWH and additional scientists interested in thoracic diseases who work at other Harvard Medical Area facilities throughout the U.S. and around the world. Together, we have built an integrated research effort among multiple disciplines each contributing to a different aspect of thoracic disease treatment or quality of life (QOL) maintenance.

Research projects, including clinical trials, cover all aspects of patient care including:

  • New targeted cancer treatments using novel biologic drugs
  • Tissue analysis and typing to develop biomarkers for prognosis and diagnosis in cancer
  • Investigating new devices to aid in treatment, localization and tumor excision
  • Protocols to reduce post-operative stay and promote recovery
  • Quality of life studies aimed to improve lifestyle and reduce morbidities before and after surgery
  • New, more precise surgical approaches using the AMIGO suite
  • Characterization of the tumor genetic structure and function with emphasis on developing new therapies.

Only patients who have provided consent are studied. The high quality care remains the same regardless of study participation. Each project is ultimately designed to improve patient therapy and outcome.

Study Examples

  • Various database projects collect patient history and exposure data to assess genetic susceptibility factors for development of malignant and benign thoracic disease.
  • Basic science projects will contribute to understanding the biology of disease development, discover and validate molecular markers or targets, and develop targeted therapies.
  • The BWH Thoracic Surgery Tissue Bank stores and supplies patient blood and tissue samples to the other projects. We are looking for a screening test for cancer, guides to therapy and better understanding of why cancer cells seem to have an advantage over normal cells.
  • Database projects track outcome data, and assess new options for diagnostic tools, chemotherapy, surgery and post-treatment care.
  • Intra-operative device studies allow surgeons to test new products that have the potential to improve surgical care and reduce operative time.
  • Questionnaire studies are used to gather self-reported information from our patients. From this data, surgeons are able to advise patients on what the self reported magnitude of post-operative changes will be.

We Need Your Help

Your contributions to our research will provide the next generation of patients and their families with even better care. Your contributions can be directed toward:

  • Improving disease understanding
  • Improving overall health and recovery after surgery
  • Understanding the needs of cancer survivors
  • Finding a test to discover cancer when it is in an early stage
  • Finding the best treatments

Learn More

Learn more about the individual thoracic research projects.

To learn how you can support our thoracic research, go to www.bwhgiving.org/thoracic.

Read scientific research papers published by BWH Thoracic Surgery Researchers.

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