News Release

Date: July 11, 2007 

Andrew M. Lowy, MD, Pioneering Surgical Oncologist, Joins UC San Diego Medical Center 

 

Surgeon Brings Novel Pancreatic and Colon Treatments to Advanced Cancer Patients

Distinguished cancer surgeon, Andrew M. Lowy, MD, has been recruited to the Un iversity of California, San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center and School of Medicine, further elevating UC San Diego’s role as a leading center for cancer diagnosis, treatment, research and education.

Andrew M. Lowy, M.D.
Andrew M. Lowy, M.D.

Lowy is recognized worldwide for his expertise in the surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer and for investigating novel cancer treatments which incorporate surgery and chemotherapy to treat patients with advanced cancer that has spread to the abdomen. At UC San Diego, Lowy will launch a multidisciplinary surgical program dedicated to the comprehensive treatment of cancer with a focus on the pancreas and colon. Lowy led such a program in surgical oncology at the University of Cincinnati where he also directed the Pancreatic Disease Center.

“Dr. Lowy is a one-of-a-kind innovator in integrating surgery with new forms of biologically targeted therapy that few surgeons are qualified to perform,” said Dennis A. Carson, MD, director of UCSD Moores Cancer Center. “His combined research and clinical talents will amplify the strengths of the Cancer Center in finding new treatments for more patients, allowing us to begin treatment at the earliest stages, and attack it at the molecular level.”

Lowy has furthered the development of a promising treatment known as the “chemo bath” or intraperitoneal hyperthermic perfusion, to treat advanced abdominal cancers. During surgery, all visible signs of tumor are removed, and a heated chemotherapy solution is circulated throughout the abdomen for up to 90 minutes. The solution is then removed and the incision closed. Lowy also is an expert in treating liver tumors, both primary and metastatic, through the use of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery in which tumors are removed or ablated using radiofrequency energy.

Lowy has conducted extensive research in gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancer with funding from the National Cancer Institute. Lowy’s research group, in cooperation with University of Pennsylvania, co-developed the first mouse model of human pancreatic cancer. In this model, the precursor lesions to human pancreatic cancer develop and progress slowly, allowing for the study of this disease in a way never before possible. The license to this model was purchased by a major pharmaceutical company, placed in the National Cancer Institute’s Mouse Models of Human Cancer Repository, and has been distributed to more than twenty university centers.

“Pancreas cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer death,” said Lowy. “This devastating disease is overlooked, underfunded, misunderstood. The incidence of pancreatic cancer is lower than other cancers, but the death rate is much higher. There are only 34,000 pancreas cancer cases but there are 33,000 deaths a year.”

“Dr. Lowy is one of the best surgical oncologists in the country. He is the surgeon that other surgeons seek out when they need an operation for cancer. Andy came here, in part, because he recognized that Moores UCSD Cancer Center is committed to being one of the best cancer centers in the world,” said Mark Talamini, MD, FACS, chairman of the Department of Surgery at the UCSD Medical Center.

Lowy, who serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Oncology and the Annals of Surgical Oncology received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in New York with surgical training residency at Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Lowy’s fellowship training was at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Lowy also serves as surgical liaison to the Pancreas and Hepatobiliary Committee of the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), which is one of the largest National Cancer Institute cooperative groups. Recently, Lowy was selected to co-chair the National Cancer Institute’s Pancreatic Cancer Task Force which is charged with setting the direction of clinical research in pancreatic cancer in the United States.

Founded in 1979, the Moores UCSD Cancer Center is one of just 40 centers in the United States to hold a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.  It ranks among the top centers in the nation conducting basic, translational and clinical cancer research, providing advanced patient care and serving the community through innovative outreach and education programs. 

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Media Conatct:  Jackie Carr, 619-543-6163, jcarr@ucsd.edu