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Physician in the News - Ajay Maker, MD

Physician in the News - Ajay Maker, MDPhysician in the News - John Kotis, DO
Physician in the News - Michael Friedman, MD

Ajay V. Maker, MD, is a surgical oncologist with board certification in general surgery, and is the director of Surgical Oncology at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and the Angelo P. Creticos, MD, Cancer Center. His expertise includes treating benign and malignant diseases of the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreas, as well as colon and other gastrointestinal cancers, melanoma and sarcoma.

He joined the Division of Surgical Oncology and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) after completing a fellowship in surgical oncology with a focus on hepatopancreatobiliary surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a fellowship in tumor immunology and surgical oncology at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Maker cares for patients as part of a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists and radiologists.

During his surgical residency at Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he spent two years performing translational immunotherapy research at the National Institutes of Health, where his team was among the first to identify the utility of an anti-CTLA4 antibody as an anti-cancer treatment for patients with metastatic melanoma and investigated its immunological mechanism of action. His clinical research has involved identifying immunologic markers of cancer in pancreatic cystic tumors.

In his laboratory at UIC, he and his colleagues study the role of the immune system in cancer, specifically on colon cancer that has spread to the liver. He is working toward identifying novel immunotherapeutic agents for these conditions and initiating clinical trials to investigate them. His research has been supported by several grants, including the WCCAB Career Development Award.

Dr. Maker has served as a reviewer for the Annals of Surgical Oncology and the Journal of Surgical Oncology. He is also a member of numerous societies, including the Society of Surgical Oncology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American College of Surgeons and the Association for Academic Surgery.

Dr. Maker works in collaboration with the highly skilled physicians at the cancer center. His expertise helps the team diagnose cancer, determine its stage of development and provide leading-edge technology, including minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery to remove tumors. When appropriate, Dr. Maker uses minimally invasive approaches to cancer surgery, including liver and pancreatic resections.

Dr. Maker’s areas of clinical interest include:

  • Surgical oncology
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Soft tissue sarcomas and GIST

What is a GIST Tumor?

Managing Pancreatic Cancer with the Whipple Procedure

Learn about gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), a mesenchymal tumor of the gastrointestinal tract, from Dr. Maker.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat successfully. However, Dr. Maker performs resections, including the Whipple procedure, to help Illinois Masonic Medical Center patients with pancreatic cancer extend their lives. In this video, he describes a case in which he removed a patient’s tumor with the portal vein.


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