The magazine of UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Fall/Winter 2013

Director’s Message

Dear Reader,

Cancer is not a single disease. We now know that every tumor is as complex in its molecular makeup as the person diagnosed with the disease. That’s why our work in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care must be tailored to the individual patient and tumor.

In this issue of Synthesis, we explore these efforts from the basic science in our laboratories to the clinics where we care for our patients.

New technologies that quickly analyze human samples for cancer-causing genetic mutations are increasingly helping us understand cancer but also improving cancer control through targeted prevention and treatment.

Building on his study of homogeneous populations in South America, Luís Carvajal-Carmona is using genetic analysis techniques to quickly screen human genomes for new mutations that may be targets for new treatment. In another laboratory Jeff Gregg and Clifford Tepper will soon sequence individual patient tumors to identify mutations and hasten effective treatment.

The cancer center is working equally hard to build participation in clinical trials of new therapies. In this issue you will learn about an approach to engage more Asian-Americans in clinical research through patient education and navigation. And you will meet a 9-year-old leukemia patient who is enrolled in a trial that informs future treatment options for other children.

Fortunately, childhood cancer is relatively rare, but for survivors, long-term side effects of treatment can be a great burden. That’s why the cancer center has launched a clinic dedicated to childhood cancer survivors that utilizes an Internet-based program to track each patient’s treatment and guide clinicians in preventing or responding to potential late side effects. It’s another way we are breaking barriers to beat cancer.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Synthesis. Thanks for reading.

Ralph de Vere White
Director, UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
Associate Dean for Cancer Programs
Distinguished Professor, Department of Urology