Diabetes Surgery Program Opens at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell

One of the First Programs of Its Kind Led by Newly Appointed Dr. Francesco Rubino, A Pioneering Authority in the Emerging Specialty

Nov 16, 2007


Opening the doors to one of the first academic medical programs dedicated to surgical treatment of type 2 diabetes, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has created a new section of General Surgery called Gastrointestinal Metabolic Surgery. The program will be led by the newly appointed Dr. Francesco Rubino, a pioneering authority in the emerging specialty.

Dr. Rubino, who was appointed associate professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of gastrointestinal metabolic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, has advanced diabetes surgery as an entirely new surgical field—one in which gastrointestinal operations can be performed to directly treat diabetes—not just as a byproduct of weight-loss surgery.

He is the proponent of a novel procedure specifically designed to treat type 2 diabetes. Instead of shrinking the stomach like most approaches to weight-loss surgery, his approach reroutes the small intestine, leaving the stomach intact. In a study published in the Annals of Surgery, he reported that the procedure dramatically reduced diabetes in animals—demonstrating for the first time that surgery has a direct effect on type 2 diabetes unrelated to weight loss. The procedure, now known as Rubino's Procedure, has been performed on patients at several centers worldwide.

"I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Rubino to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and inaugurate our gastrointestinal metabolic surgery program. As one of the world's leaders in the research, teaching and practice of metabolic and weight-loss surgery, his approaches hold an enormous promise for the millions in America and worldwide living with obesity and diabetes," says Dr. Fabrizio Michelassi, chairman of the Department of Surgery and the Lewis Atterbury Stimson Professor of Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and surgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Dr. Rubino was a principal organizer of an influential Diabetes Surgery Summit, held in Rome in March this year. The international consensus conference helped establish the field, making international recommendations for the use of surgery and creating an International Diabetes Surgery Task Force. Dr. Rubino serves as a founding member.

Dr. Rubino offers clinical expertise in numerous laparoscopic approaches to metabolic and weight-loss surgery—including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy and laparoscopic redo surgery for failed bariatric procedures—and laparoscopic digestive surgery. His research interests also include studies of the mechanisms of appetite control following RYGB and endoluminal and transgastric approach to bariatric and diabetes surgery.

Most recently, Dr. Rubino was an assistant professor of surgery at the Catholic University of Rome, Italy, and director of the Metabolic Surgery Research Program at the IRCAD-European Institute of Telesurgery in Strasbourg, France, where he was also a surgeon in the Department of Digestive and Endocrine Surgery in the Hôpital Civil.

He received his medical degree and completed his residency in general surgery at the Catholic University/Policlinico Gemelli in Rome, Italy. He completed fellowships in laparoscopic surgery at the European Institute of Telesurgery in Strasbourg, France; Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York; the Cleveland Clinic; and a clinical/research fellowship in breast cancer at the Catholic University in Rome. Dr. Rubino joined the Hôpital Civil in Strasbourg in 2001 as a clinical fellow and was appointed attending surgeon in 2003.

Dr. Rubino is also a member of various professional organizations, including the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the Brazilian Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery (BSBMS)—both of which recently changed their names to include the new surgical specialty. He is also member of the Italian Society of Endoscopic Surgery (SICE) and the International Club of Young Laparoscopic Surgeons (YCLS).

He is the recipient of numerous awards and has given hundreds of presentations throughout the world in international medical conferences, and is the author of more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 20 book chapters.

"I look forward to joining a faculty of extraordinary physicians and surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. The idea of providing a new, specialized program in metabolic surgery is part of a broader effort at the Medical Center to offer new treatment options for patients with diabetes and obesity," says Dr. Rubino. "In addition to the Hospital's commitment to excellence in patient care, I was attracted by the opportunity to boost research and education in this emerging field through a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach that aims at elucidating the mechanisms of diabetes control—research that may ultimately lead to a better understanding of diabetes and obesity. Indeed, metabolic surgery may help shape the future of diabetes care in the next few years, and is possibly the best promise we have ever had to cure the disease."

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, education, research and community service. Weill Cornell physician-scientists have been responsible for many medical advances—from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth, and, most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally-conscious brain-injured patient. NewYork-Presbyterian, which is ranked sixth on U.S.News & World Report's list of top hospitals, also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion. Weill Cornell Medical College is the first U.S. medical college to offer a medical degree oversees and maintains a strong global presence in Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania, Turkey and Qatar. For more information, visit www.nyp.org and www.med.cornell.edu.