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De Delva selected to lead Cancer Institute’s Thoracic team

Published on Wednesday, November 1, 2017

By: Cynthia Wall

Dr. John Ruckdeschel, University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute director, has named Dr. Pierre De Delva chairman of the interdisciplinary thoracic cancer care team.

De Delva, an associate professor of surgery and section chief of general thoracic surgery, specializes in minimally invasive lung and esophageal surgeries and management of benign and malignant disorders of the airway.  

“Dr. De Delva is an outstanding general thoracic surgeon who is deeply committed to the diagnosis and management of patients with thoracic malignancies including lung cancer, mesothelioma, thymoma and esophageal cancer,” Ruckdeschel said.

“An interdisciplinary team leader needs to be able to understand how the other specialties fit into the therapeutic process and be able orchestrate a complete plan for the patient.  Pierre has abundantly demonstrated his ability to do just that for our patients,” he said.

As chairman of the interdisciplinary team, De Delva will help guide treatment for UMMC patients with lung or mediastinum cancers. The team includes pulmonologists, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, nurses, clinical trial coordinators, therapists and more.

Teams meet weekly to review new patients or those whose conditions have changed, to discuss and sometimes debate the best therapy practices for the patient’s primary doctor to recommend. Teams also try to coordinate visits so patients can have all testing and see specialists the same day.

“We hope to continue the success of this team,” De Delva said.

Other goals include implementing Phase 1 clinical trials and enhancing Phase 3 clinical trials.

“Lots of our patients don’t qualify for current trials. We may need to write our own trial to fit our patient populations. We’d like to collaborate with researchers to get trials that fit our patients,” he said.

He also plans to work with the team to solidify the lung cancer screening program and increase its community outreach. “We’ve got to figure out how to implement smoking cessation programs throughout the state,” he said.

Dr. Joe Pressler, assistant professor of medicine, who has led the team for several years left to enter a practice in Greenwood.

“We’re going to miss Joe and thank him for being a part of this team,” De Delva said.

De Delva, who came to UMMC in 2011, is the American College of Surgeons’ state chair of the Committee on Cancer, which accredits cancer programs. UMMC is a COC accredited facility. He also is associate editor of thoracic oncology for BMC Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal on multiple aspects of cancer prevention, diagnosis and therapy.

Pressler’s practice at UMMC focused on lung cancer and interventional pulmonology. He is a member of the American Lung Association Leadership Board and the ALA Lung Cancer Expert Medical Advisory Committee.