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Northwestern Medicine Canning Thoracic Institute DREAM Program physicians and patients.

Double lung transplantation is a complex procedure where both lungs are replaced with lungs from a donor. Historically, patients with cancer have not been able to get lung transplants. By founding the DREAM Program, Northwestern Medicine is working to change this.


The DREAM Program is for:

  • People with lung cancer that are not responding to treatment and who do not have other treatment options
  • People who were cured of cancer in the past five years, but who have lung failure and do not meet traditional criteria for lung transplant

The program is built on a foundation of the latest advances in:

  • Thoracic surgery
  • Thoracic cancer care
  • Transplantation pulmonology
  • Multidisciplinary care
  • State-of-the art cancer surveillance

Innovation in Lung Transplantation

At the center of the DREAM Program is a breakthrough surgical technique — double lung transplantation.

This surgery is designed to significantly reduce the risk of cancer returning and minimizes complications. The procedure’s main goal is to ensure that cancer cells do not spread the newly transplanted donor lungs.

The DREAM Program offers double lung transplantation to patients with lung-confined cancers who have exhausted all other treatment options.

State-of-the-Art Cancer Surveillance

The DREAM Program team is dedicated to compassionate, high-quality care. After your lung transplant, we will use leading-edge tools to regularly and closely monitor your health. This involves quarterly follow-up visits, or more frequent visits if needed. This helps ensure timely intervention and the best possible outcomes.

At your follow-up visits, we will use CT scans and variety of blood tests. These are vital to helping us find and track measurable signs, called biomarkers, that indicate changes in your health. Examples of biomarkers include gene mutations and tumor DNA levels.

A Multidisciplinary Team of Experts

What sets the DREAM Program apart is our patient-centered multidisciplinary care team. The includes experts from different specialties to meet your unique medical needs. Their experience helps ensure streamlined, high-quality care at each step of your transplant journey for holistic care.

The program’s framework emphasizes our commitment to your well-being. Our collaborative approach ensures that your care is personalized and provided by experts, resulting in better patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Leading the Way

The DREAM Program is leading a shift in the field of lung transplant. It offers hope for patients with lung-restricted cancer by providing opportunities for double lung transplantation, which was once considered unattainable.

With innovative surgical methods, leading-edge cancer surveillance techniques and a team of experts, the DREAM Program is redefining double lung transplantations. The program is a testament to medical advances that prioritize improving patients' quality of life and enhancing postsurgical outcomes.

23-2202i USNWR National Specialty Cards_NHM_National Pulm

Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Nationally recognized in Pulmonology & Lung Surgery (No. 18)

Lung Transplant Program

The Northwestern Medicine Lung Transplant Program is dedicated to providing innovative services and a world-class patient experience through comprehensive transplant care. We offer a team approach to care for patients with advanced lung disease.

Thoracic Surgical Oncology Program

The Northwestern Medicine Thoracic Surgical Oncology Program provides state-of-the-art care to patients with all cancers in the chest cavity including lung cancer, mesothelioma, esophageal cancer, thymic cancer/tumor, sarcoma, and cancer from other sites that has metastasized to the chest.

Lung Transplant Saves Chicago Man Diagnosed with Terminal Lung Cancer

Surgeons successfully performed a double-lung transplant on a patient with terminal lung cancer. Years after his transplant, his story is giving hope to other patients with advanced stages of this deadly disease.