Breakthrough at Northwestern Medicine: Lung cancer patient has successful lung liver transplant

In a first-of-its-kind operation at Northwestern Medicine, surgeons successfully performed a combined lung liver transplant on a patient who was suffering from lung cancer. 

Santa Monica Pulminologist Gary Gibbon was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer in March 2023. 

He initially underwent chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy in California for treatment.

Gibbon was told that the immunotherapy had not only destroyed his lungs, but also caused irreparable damage to his liver. 

His only option for survival was to travel to Chicago for a lung liver transplant. 

GIbbon is part of a program that selects patients with advanced lung cancer that did not respond to conventional treatment. He underwent his surgery last September. 

"I made it a point to completely let go of the doctor in me and become the patient, which was, in and of itself, somewhat of a different experience. But a good one, in a good way," Gibbon said. 

The operation had a successful outcome – the surgery went well and there are now no signs of cancer in Gibbon's body. 

With that, he no longer has to continue with his cancer therapies. 

Northwestern doctors say to their knowledge, this was the first case in the nation where a patient with advanced lung cancer received this treatment.