Jan 31, 2018 9:00 AM

Laura Lambert, MD
Laura Lambert, MD

In keeping with our goal of offering new hope for patients with advanced cancers, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is adding a new therapy called HIPEC to its already wide range of treatment options in 2018. HCI will be the only cancer center in the Mountain West to offer this treatment, joining only a few nationwide.

HIPEC stands for hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion, and it is an innovative way to deliver chemotherapy. Used to treat cancers that have spread to the lining of the abdominal cavity, HIPEC puts heated chemotherapy drugs directly into the abdomen.

Laura Lambert, MD, joined HCI in January, bringing with her an international reputation for surgical and multidisciplinary care and research in advanced abdominal cancers. Her clinical focus has been on the surgical management of cancers in the abdomen lining, including HIPEC.

“Patients who can benefit from HIPEC have certain stage IV cancers in the abdomen,” she says. “Standard chemotherapy and surgery alone offer limited success. For some patients, HIPEC is a source for new hope.”

Even with extensive surgery to remove all visible tumors, cancer cells remain in the abdomen, along with tumors so small they are invisible. After surgery, a special machine circulates a heated chemotherapy solution throughout the abdominal cavity. The chemotherapy comes in direct contact with cancer cells on the peritoneum or lining of the abdomen and the organs within it. After 90 minutes, the chemotherapy solution is removed.

HIPEC is often the primary therapy for a rare condition called pseudomyxoma peritonei. Other patients likely to benefit from HIPEC have stage IV cancers of organs in the abdomen, including the appendix and colon. HIPEC is also used in the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma and is being looked at for use in the management of gynecologic malignancies.  

By bringing HIPEC to HCI, Dr. Lambert looks forward to raising awareness about its role in cancer treatment. “It will give patients and health care providers an important treatment option they either would not have or for which they would have to travel great distances,” she says.

Dr. Lambert joins HCI from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, where she was the director of the Peritoneal Malignancy Program and the Appendiceal Cancer Research Group. She earned her medical degree at Harvard Medical School and completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is board certified in general surgery and palliative and hospice medicine.

Learn more about HIPEC cancer treatment.

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