Look for Drugs and Conditions

Representative image

Innovative Lung-Liver Transplant Saves Santa Monica Resident

In a remarkable medical feat, a 69-year-old resident of Santa Monica, Calif., Mr. Gibbon, has defied the odds and survived advanced lung cancer thanks to a groundbreaking combined lung-liver transplant performed by doctors at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.

Gibbon, a pulmonologist-allergist-immunologist, endured a grueling regimen of chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy for his advanced lung cancer, which tragically resulted in irreversible lung damage and liver cirrhosis.

Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and director of the Northwestern Medicine Canning Thoracic Institute, led the surgical team that conducted Gibbon's lung transplant. This procedure, which Gibbon fondly refers to as his "Triple L" - two lungs and a liver, marks a significant medical milestone as the first known case in the nation where a patient with advanced lung cancer has successfully undergone a combined lung-liver transplant.

Gibbon's journey began in March 2023 when he started experiencing symptoms like coughing and weight loss, ultimately leading to the diagnosis of stage 3 lung cancer. Despite aggressive treatment, including rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy, Gibbon's health deteriorated rapidly, culminating in septic shock, pneumonia, and multiple organ failure by mid-July.

As a pulmonologist, Gibbon never anticipated needing a lung transplant, let alone for lung cancer. However, his hope was restored when he turned to Northwestern University's innovative clinical program, Double Lung Replacement and Multidisciplinary Care (DREAM), for a chance at survival.

The evaluation process revealed the extent of damage caused by the immunotherapy, which not only affected Gibbon's lungs but also led to liver cirrhosis. Subsequently, Gibbon was transported to Chicago in September 2023, where he awaited donor organs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

After twelve days on the transplant waitlist, Gibbon underwent a marathon 10-hour surgical procedure to receive his new lungs and liver from the same donor. Surgeons utilized cutting-edge technology, including a "liver in a box" device, to keep the donor liver alive outside the body while meticulously removing Gibbon's damaged lungs and cancerous tissue.

Dr. Bharat emphasized the meticulousness required during the procedure, especially in removing cancer cells from the chest cavity to reduce the risk of recurrence. This approach, informed by their experience with pioneering COVID-19 lung transplants, has proven successful in Gibbon's case.

Six months post-surgery, Gibbon remains cancer-free and does not require further treatment. He continues to be closely monitored by his transplant team in Chicago, a testament to the remarkable advancements in medical science and the dedication of healthcare professionals at Northwestern Medicine.

Reflecting on his journey, Gibbon expressed gratitude for the opportunity to experience the DREAM program and achieve a positive outcome, acknowledging that his survival would not have been possible without the expertise and innovation of Northwestern Medicine.

Be first to post your comments

Post your comment

Related Articles

Ad 5