By nature, a physician’s job is to take a negative and turn it into a positive. This is particularly true for Dr. J. Philip Boudreaux, a Professor of Surgery at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and founding member of the combined LSU/Ochsner-Kenner New Orleans Neuroendocrine Tumor Specialists, a multidisciplinary clinic that was formed out of the scattered chaos that Hurricane Katrina left behind.
“This is one of the good things that came out of Katrina,” explains Dr. Boudreaux, who specializes in the treatment of neuroendocrine tumors. “Typically, to form a multi-disciplinary clinic of several experts in a variety of fields, someone has to move his or her practice. But for us, no one had to move anything because we had nothing! We started out in a single 10-foot-by-10-foot room with two picnic tables, a phone, a computer, a nurse, three doctors and a nutritionist. It was an unfortunate circumstance that lead to a fortuitous outcome.”
Today, the NOLA NETS program, an affiliation between LSUHSC and Ochsner Medical Center, is a 7,500-square-foot facility located inside Ochsner’s Kenner Regional location. The group monitors and treats more than 2,000 patients in a multi-disciplinary, “disease-centered” clinical setting with 18 different physicians and personnel covering medical and surgical oncology, nuclear medicine, transplant surgery, radiology, nutrition and gastroenterology.
Dr. Boudreaux and his colleagues treat neuroendocrine tumors, which can originate anywhere in the body, although carcinoid tumors, found in the lungs, pancreas and GI tract, are the most common. “Neuroendocrine tumors are slow-growing, so the patients are around for a long time,” Dr. Boudreaux explains. “This allows us to be innovative in our treatments and perform some non-traditional surgery.”
Complex surgery is nothing new to Dr. Boudreaux, who instituted the liver and pancreas transplant programs at LSU, and the liver and kidney transplant programs at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, and who also performed the first pancreas transplant in Louisiana 25 years ago. The clinic employs a variety of procedures and treatment methods, including aggressive surgery, minimally invasive Neoprobe-guided surgery, NanoKnife and CyberKnife, cytoreduction, lymphatic mapping, intraoperative chemotherapy, PRRT injections, transplantation, chemoembolization, radiotherapy, targeted MIBG therapy and nutrition treatment.
The physicians at NOLA NETS are working to help the multi-disciplinary approach gain popularity via national organizations, such as the American Joint Committee on Cancer. Dr. Eugene Woltering, LSU’s Professor of Surgery and Neurosciences, serves as the Chairman of the AJCC’s Neuroendocrine Tumor Expert Panel and has been tasked with authoring the new eighth edition of the AJCC Staging Manual on Neuroendocrine Tumors. NOLA NETS also sponsors and hosts national neuroendocrine patient conferences that focus on the multi-disciplinary treatment approach.
In April 2014, the group published a study of 189 patients with advanced stage carcinoid tumors in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. In the findings, Dr. Boudreaux says that patient survival rates are almost double the national average, with a 10-year survival rate over 75 percent, concluding that “this multi-modality therapy, offered in a multi-disciplinary setting, is the most effective form of treatment, and we have the hard data to prove that. Many come to us with a terminal or pre-terminal diagnosis, and we are helping them add 10, 15, 25 years to their lives. That’s enough time to see kids grow up, graduate and even see the birth of grandchildren!”
200 West Esplanade Ave., Ste. 200
Kenner, LA 70065
Medical School: Louisiana State University School of Medicine
Internship: Pediatrics, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Residency: General Surgery, Louisiana State University Charity Hospital
Post-Doctoral Fellowships: Pediatric Surgery Research Fellow, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Clinical Fellowships: Organ Transplantation Immunology Fellowship, University of Minnesota
Board Certifications: Surgery; Critical Care