BiographyDr. Wargo's commitment has always been to advance the understanding and treatment of disease through science. Early in her career, she enrolled in nursing school to gain a fundamental insight into disease and its effect on people. Excited by what she learned, she pursued a bachelor's degree in biology. She then entered medical school at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, and developed an interest in the immunologic aspects of disease. She graduated from medical school in 1998 and declared her intent to pursue a career in academic surgery.
In 1998, Dr. Wargo entered surgical residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital where she became interested in the biology and treatment of cancer. She completed her residency training in general surgery in 2005, and also completed two fellowships in Surgical Oncology, one as a research fellow studying immunotherapy for the treatment of melanoma (at the University of California, Los Angeles), and another at the National Institutes of Health exploring immunotherapy for melanoma and other cancers.
Dr. Wargo was recruited to the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in July 2008 with a clinical and research focus on immunotherapy for cancer. Dr. Wargo currently focuses her interests in melanoma, pancreatic cancer, and other gastrointestinal cancers though also cares for a significant number of patients with lymphoma.
Dr. Wargo has made important contributions to the field of immunotherapy for melanoma and other cancers. She has been nationally recognized for these contributions, and also is recognized by her patients and peers as a competent and caring physician. She received a Patient's Choice Award in 2010 and was one of the MGH Cancer Center's One Hundred Honorees in 2011 for her contributions toward the treatment of cancer.
Dr. Wargo runs a translational research laboratory studying the genetics of melanoma and other cancers with the goal of understanding what makes them able to grow, spread, and evade the immune system. Based on the findings from her laboratory, she is now using genetic targeted therapy to arrest the growth of these cancers and to make them more visible to the immune system. She is currently developing clinical trials incorporating what she has learned in the laboratory to treat patients with cancer. Her efforts in this regard have been nationally recognized, and she has several research grants for this work.
In addition to her important work in the laboratory, Dr. Wargo has focused on minimally-invasive surgical techniques for the treatment of pancreatic diseases, including pancreatic cancer. As part of the pancreatic surgery group at the Massachusetts General Hospital, she has contributed to improving the improving management for patients with pancreatic cancer and other pancreatic disease
Among Dr. Wargo's awards are: MGH Cancer Center's One Hundred Honorees (2011); Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award (2011); Patient's Choice Award (2010); Tufts University School of Medicine - Excellence in Teaching Award (2004); Society of Surgical Oncology Harvey Baker Traveling Fellowship (2003); Association for Academic Surgery Award (1998); Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society (1998)
Surgical management of melanoma. Wargo JA, Tanabe K. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am 2009 June 23(3): 565-81.
Selective BRAFV600E inhibition enhances T-cell recognition of melanoma without affecting lymphocyte function. Boni A, Cogdill AP, Dang P, Udayakumar D, Njauw CJ, Sloss CM, Ferrone CR, Flaherty KT, Lawrence DP, Fisher DE, Tsao H, and Wargo JA. Cancer Research 2010 June 15.
Surgical approach to pancreatic exocrine neoplasms. Wargo JA and Warshaw AL. Minerva Chir. 2005 60(6): 445-468.
The management of pancreatic serous cystadenomas. Wargo JA, Fernandez-del-Castillo C, Warshaw AL. Adv Surgery 2009
Does the Mechanism of Lymph Node Invasion Affect Survival in Patients with Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma? Konstantinidis IT, Deshpande V, Zheng H, Wargo JA, Fernandez-Del Castillo C, Thayer SP, Androutsopoulos V, Lauwers GY, Warshaw AL, Ferrone CR. J Gastrointest Surg 2009
Ocular melanoma metastatic to the pancreas after a 28-year disease-free interval.
Vagefi PA, Stangenberg L, Krings G, Forcione DG, Wargo JA. Surgery. 2009 Jul 28.
Incidental pancreatic cysts: Do we really know what we are watching? Correa-Gallego C, Ferrone CR, Thayer SP, Wargo JA, Warshaw AL, Fern?ndez-Del Castillo C. Pancreatology. 2010 May 17;10(2-3):144-150.
Assessment of pancreatic tumor respectability with multidetector computed tomography semiautomated console-generated images versus dedicated workstation-generated images. Singh AK, Sahani DV, Blake MA, Joshi MC, Wargo JA, Fernandez-del Castillo C. Acad Radiol 2008 Aug; 15(8): 1058-68
MGH Hotline 5.08.09 Approximately 100 people attended the Friends of the MGH Cancer Center’s annual fundraising forum April 22 in the Bulfinch Tents. This year’s event featured MGH skin cancer experts David Fisher, MD, PhD, chief of the Department of Dermatology and director of the Center for Melanoma, left, and Jennifer Wargo, MD, of the Department of Surgery.
Designed to sustain productivity of women scientists at the MGH who are balancing their research careers with the responsibilities of raising a family, the Claflin Distinguished Scholar Awards annually are presented to junior faculty members at the MGH.
Combined targeted therapy against the BRAF/MAPK pathway with immunotherapy shows promise as a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of melanoma, according to results of a preclinical study by MGH researchers.
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