Featuring: Ankit Bharat, MBBS, GR Scott Budinger, MD
The Northwestern Medicine Canning Thoracic Institute will create a patient-centered destination for treatment fo the simple to most complex respiratory illnesses and lung cancer.
After successfully performing the first COVID-19 lung transplant in the United States and offering guidance to transplant centers around the world, Northwestern Medicine has launched the Canning Thoracic Institute (CTI), investing in the fields of thoracic surgery and respiratory medicine to meet the growing patient demand for lung care. Supported by a generous gift from John and Rita Canning, the CTI is committed to providing groundbreaking research, clinical breakthroughs, and high-quality care for patients with diseases of the lung and chest across the 12 hospital Northwestern Medicine health system.
“We want to create solutions for seemingly impossible problems and be the destination center for lung and chest care,” explains Ankit Bharat, MD, chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern Medicine and executive director of the Canning Thoracic Institute. “Our team leads the nation in finding new ways to fight deadly respiratory conditions such as COVID-19, which is demonstrated through the historical milestone of pioneering the first COVID-19 double-lung transplant in the nation with the best clinical outcomes worldwide.”
Leveraging world-renowned clinical experts in the fields of pulmonology and thoracic surgery, the CTI will meet the growing need for lung care in these main areas:
“The CTI offers Northwestern Medicine patients access to leading edge technologies and procedures, integrates research with clinical practice to improve patient outcomes, and educates the next generation of physicians in pulmonology, critical care and thoracic surgery,” says Scott Budinger, MD, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Northwestern Medicine and medical director of the Canning Thoracic Institute. “We’re well positioned to accelerate our impact, innovation and outcomes to meet the growing patient demand for lung care.”
Since June 2020, Northwestern Medicine surgeons have completed more than 30 double-lung transplants on COVID-19 patients, which is the highest number performed at any health system in the world. With more than 44 million Americans contracting COVID-19, demand for outpatient pulmonary care and lung transplantation is expected to grow. Additionally, lung cancer represents the most common type of cancer nationwide, and almost one million people in the Chicagoland region suffer from a chronic lung disease, representing 10 percent of the overall population.
To date, the team of more than 70 specialized pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons and critical care providers have accomplished milestones such as:
“The Canning Thoracic Institute will capitalize on Northwestern Medicine’s breakthroughs in medicine with a regional, national and global impact,” says John and Rita Canning, whose $20 million gift launched the CTI. “Our philanthropic contribution will help recruit and educate the top physicians in the nation, pioneer new procedures and clinical trials, incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools, and make the patient experience exceptional. We want the CTI to be known as the leading program for thoracic care, creating a platform that allows patients from all over the country and world to access leading-edge treatment.”
“With the pandemic illuminating our strength as an international leader for innovation in lung care, we are well positioned to rapidly create the Canning Thoracic Institute,” says Dean M. Harrison, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. “Thanks to the generous contribution from John and Rita Canning, we’ll create a patient-centered destination for the treatment of the simple to the most complex respiratory illnesses and lung cancer, which will have a lasting impact on health care for Chicagoans and beyond.”
This article was originally published in the Northwestern Medicine Newsroom on November 19, 2021 .
Ankit Bharat, MBBS, is the chief of Thoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery, Harold L. and Margaret N. Method Research Professor of Surgery and associate professor of Surgery (Thoracic Surgery) and Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care). Dr. Bharat specializes in malignant and benign chest and esophageal diseases. His research focuses on lung preservation, transplant immunology and airway biology, achieved through collaboration with the Kovler Comprehensive Transplant Center and the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.
GR Scott Budinger, MD, the Ernest S. Bazley Professor of Airway Diseases, chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care in the Department of Medicine and a professor of Cell and Developmental Biology.
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