Support the Harris Center
You can help support our work researching and treating chordoma with a donation to the Harris Center for Chordoma Care. Your support will enable us to continue our chordoma research and development of new treatment options for patients with chordoma.
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John Mullen, MD Surgeon
When Stephan Harris was diagnosed with recurrent chordoma, he and his wife traveled from abroad to seek the best possible care. They consulted with specialists at several major U.S. cancer centers, and chose Massachusetts General Hospital and Henry J. Mankin, then chair of the Orthopaedics, because of his world-renowned chordoma expertise.
Dr. Mankin subsequently referred him to Frank X. Pedlow, MD, orthopaedic surgeon, and Frederick G. Barker, MD, neurosurgeon. As Mr. Harris’ disease unfortunately progressed, Francis J. Hornicek, MD, PhD, now chief of the Orthopaedic Oncology Service and Co-director of the Center for Sarcoma and Connective Tissue Oncology, also became involved in his care.
After Harris’s death, his wife made a major gift in his honor to establish the Stephan L. Harris Center for Chordoma Care at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. “I made this gift to help other people with this disease, and to create a place where they know there will be doctors and nurses, as well as other families, who understand what they are going through,” she said. “My husband wanted to do this too.”
Mrs. Harris had previously given generously to support chordoma research at Mass General. She felt that the place and timing were right to establish this first center in the world with a single focus on chordoma care because Dr. Hornicek and his team had already committed themselves to chordoma research.
The Harris Center brings the Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary expertise to the evaluation, treatment, and support of chordoma patients. An advisory group bringing together specialists throughout Mass General has been established to support this goal and advance the search for a cure. “As part of that effort, we are building a chordoma care information center on Mass General's website that we hope will be a resource for patients and physicians internationally,” notes Dr. Fran Hornicek, who directs the Harris Center.
In addition, Mrs. Harris’s gift established a fund to help families receiving care at the Harris Center with transportation and housing expenses. “When my husband was sick, I was able to travel with him so he would not be alone,” she says. “Stephan would have wanted to help others travel with their families for treatment.” This assistance, notes Anne Fiore, NP, is already helping families and patients, freeing them to focus on treatment and healing. “The Harris Center is helping us extend the expert level of care available here at Mass General to chordoma patients around the world,” adds Dr. Hornicek.
The Stephan L. Harris Center is a center of excellence at the Massachusetts General Hospital that provides unsurpassed compassionate care while advancing the art and science of evaluating, diagnosing, treating, curing, and supporting the patient with chordoma.
Each patient in our program is evaluated and cared for by a multidisciplinary team of experts who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of chordoma. The team meets regularly with patients and keeps referring physicians informed of their patients’ tests, treatments, and results in order to enhance communication and coordination of care.
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