PA) - Nearly a quarter-century ago, Joel Cooper, MD, FACS,
FRCPS accomplished a fascinating step forward in the world
of medicine - he became the first surgeon in the world to successfully
complete a lung transplant. And he hasn’t quit moving ahead
ever since. Cooper is now a renowned lung surgeon around the globe,
known for his pioneering techniques and progress in the treatment
of lung disease, especially emphysema.
Cooper has landed in Philadelphia to become Chief of the Division
of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Health
System (UPHS). He will also teach at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine as a Professor of Surgery.
“Dr. Cooper brings so much more to Penn than just his national
and international reputation. He is a spectacularly talented surgeon
who has tremendous experience with all manner of complex chest operations,
“ said Larry R. Kaiser, MD, Chair of the
Department of Surgery at Penn and protégé of Cooper’s.
“He is a tremendous addition to the Philadelphia and entire
Mid-Atlantic region medical community.”
At Penn, Cooper will continue to refine his work in lung-volume
reduction surgery, the only treatment short of a transplant to restore
lung function in patients with late-stage emphysema. Cooper will
also examine the use of a new, cutting-edge, non-surgical procedure
called “airway bypass” (or “lung stenting”)
to treat the irreversible lung disease of emphysema. This procedure
holds promise for patients who have no other options.
Emphysema, most often brought on by smoking, affects an estimated
3 million Americans and destroys the lung’s “elastic
recoil.” The lungs can no longer deflate to let air in. The
patient is in a permanent state of “breathlessness”
- sucking in rapid, shallow breaths.
But in this new minimally invasive procedure, airway bypass stent
placement, Dr. Cooper can actually puncture the lung a few times
from the inside. This lets air out, so that the over distended lung
can then retract -- to let more air in. It deflates the lungs, essentially
creating a few new unobstructed air pathways, so that the patient
can breathe more easily.
This procedure will utilize drug-eluding stents to keep the new
holes open and is an alternative to a lung transplant or volume
reduction surgery. It is not yet FDA approved here in the United
States. Dr. Cooper is now working to get approval to begin a clinical
trial on the procedure here at Penn.
“Penn has a tremendously distinguished history and is a very
exciting place academically,” said Cooper about coming to
Philadelphia. “I already have some connections in the department
of surgery and will be working with five other thoracic surgeons;
that’s one of the largest groups of thoracic surgeons in the
United States. I’m excited to be located on the East Coast
so that these special procedures and treatments will provide a unique
service to a large population center.”
“I also want to join a major training program so that I can
help train the next generation of thoracic surgeons,” Cooper
adds. “I want to build on our existing program and further
enhance and expand the program for lung cancer and emphysema patients
- to expand our list of innovative treatments here to be able to
offer to our patients.”
Most recently, Cooper served as a Professor of Surgery and Chief
of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Washington University
and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Before that, he was a Professor
in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto.
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise
dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical
research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists
of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in
1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of
Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation
for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in
U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top
research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty
and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide
for its superior education and training of the next generation of
physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes: its
flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,
consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll”
hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital,
the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a
faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty
satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.