Thoracic Cancer Research
Learn more about thoracic cancer research at the Rudy L. Ruggles Biomedical Research Institute.
The arsenal of new surgical tools and techniques is constantly evolving. Adoption of these technological advances requires continuous evaluation of patient safety and outcomes. Among these technologies are robotic and video platforms that allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgeries.
Lung anatomy is among the most difficult parts of the body to image given the amount of detail required to accurately capture and map the complexities of the bronchial airways and pulmonary vasculature.
Recent technological advancements allow the extraction of digital imaging and communications in medicine data from routine imaging to generate patient-specific 3D models using sophisticated mathematical algorithms.
These models give surgeons and proceduralists a chance to familiarize themselves with individual patient anatomy during preoperative planning and can provide intraoperative guidance during surgery.
Our research in these areas evaluates the use of high tech surgical and imaging techniques and their ability to make surgeries more precise and increase efficiency and safety.
Through clinical trials, large healthcare datasets, literature metareviews, and expert surveys, we study their implementation and give recommendations on training curricula and guidelines for privileging and credentialing to ensure competency and the continued delivery of high-quality patient care.
In the trachea, abnormal granulation tissue and wound healing can be life-threatening due to tracheal stenosis causing airway obstruction and major bleeding. When abnormal tissue forms, it is surgically excised or ablated, but the tissue often recurs, resulting in lifelong repeat treatments with substantial patient risk.
Even accounting for patient factors, it is still unclear why some patients heal well after operations on the trachea, while common procedures such as intubation or tracheotomy will lead to abnormal granulation in others. One approach to treat obstructive granulation and long segment tracheal stenosis is reconstruction, replacing the affected length of tissue with a graft.
In rare clinical cases, attempts to replace the trachea using tissue flaps, autografts and allografts, or synthetic materials have met with only limited success, justifying the need for engineered tracheal replacements.
Our research in tracheal regeneration and tissue engineering investigates the causes of abnormal tracheal wound healing and aims to provide both new therapeutic options for abnormal granulation tissue and tissue engineered grafts that can be used for long-segment tracheal reconstruction.
The Thoracic Cancer Research Team
Joanna Weber, PhD
Mirza Zain Baig, MD
Zaid Muslim, MD
Dr. Zaid Muslim’s work focuses on thoracic oncology outcomes research. This involves the analysis of large population-based datasets to investigate management trends, assess survival outcomes and evaluate treatment quality for lung, esophageal and thymic cancers. He is a graduate of the Aga Khan University Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan and has a keen interest in quality improvement and disparities in the care of thoracic surgery patients.