Lawrence D. Wagman, M.D., professor of surgery, has been appointed director of City of Hope's newly expanded Liver Tumor Program. With liver disease rapidly becoming a major public health problem nationally and internationally, Wagman will oversee the growing clinical and research sections of the program. Under Wagman's leadership, the program will continue to provide patients with multidisciplinary care using the latest diagnostic and treatment methods, including radiofrequency ablation and robotic surgery.
Known for his expertise in liver pump therapy, Wagman performed the first-ever robotic assisted hepatic artery pump placement procedure last year, along with Alessio Pigazzi, M.D., Ph.D., section head of minimally invasive surgery. The procedure involves placing a pump in the body to deliver a high concentration of chemotherapy directly to the tumor in the liver. Traditional open surgery often requires making a foot-long incision in the abdomen, but laparoscopic robotic surgery using the da Vinci® surgical system results in much smaller incisions and shortened recovery time.
City of Hope was the first institution to perform this procedure robotically.
Wagman's current research focuses on clinical issues related to breast cancer treatment and prevention, metastatic colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver, primary hepatic tumors and palliative surgery. His previous liver-related laboratory work examined changes in liver function tests in cancer patients, while in breast cancer lab research, he focused on the significance of the epidermal growth factor receptor as a prognostic indicator and site for modulation of chemotherapeutic effects.
He is currently co-principal investigator in a study of the use and value of palliative surgery, as well as its clinical, social and economic implications. Goals include formulating science-based research tools and measurements for the field.
The National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society have funded Wagman's research. In addition, Wagman serves as City of Hope's principal investigator for the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, one of the largest breast cancer prevention studies ever conducted. Organized by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), the study recently closed to accrual at City of Hope.
In addition to caring for patients and conducting research, Wagman has contributed to several professional organizations. He has served on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the NSABP. He also is a past president of the Los Angeles Surgical Society, past state chair for the Commission on Cancer and a member of the board of governors of the American College of Surgeons. He is currently the chair of the California Department of Health Services Clinical Protocols Workgroup and the governor-appointed chair for the State of California Breast Cancer Advisory Council.
Wagman has authored more than 150 published articles, book chapters and abstracts. The textbook he edits, "Cancer Management: A Multidisciplinary Approach," was recently published in its ninth edition.
Wagman earned his bachelor's degree from State University of New York at Buffalo (Phi Beta Kappa) and his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (Alpha Omega Alpha). He performed his surgical internship and residencies at the Medical College of Virginia. During his surgical residency he was selected as a fellow in surgical oncology and spent two years at the National Cancer Institute's Surgery Branch.