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Building on basics

Dear readers,

On July 1, 2002, we became a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, a culmination of some 12 years of work and a $70 million investment by the health system.

Now, we must deliver. We must make cancer a priority in all aspects of academic life within our university. We must use our new stature to attract and retain the brightest and best of students, postgraduate researchers, residents, physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.

For our city, we hope designation will bring with it financial opportunities for growth. For our regional cancer centers, designation gives assurance that they have joined with the best. For our patients, one of the most direct and immediate benefits of NCI designation is increased access to clinical trials. In most community hospitals, the only clinical trials offered are phase III trials — studies that typically compare one known treatment to another known treatment. As an NCI-designated cancer center, we are able to offer not only phase III trials but also phase I and II trials — studies that assess brand-new chemotherapeutic agents. David Gandara is the director of our clinical research program. If a standard treatment fails, he ensures that second- and even third-line therapies are available to our patients through our vigorous clinical trials program.

NCI designation will also mean a stronger cancer prevention effort. We are delighted to welcome Moon Chen, who, with Jim Felton of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will lead the UC Davis Cancer Prevention and Control Program. An expert on cancer in minority populations, Chen arrived at UC Davis Cancer Center just as Time magazine named Sacramento the most integrated major city in the country. Chen and Felton will combine the great strengths of Lawrence Livermore with those of UC Davis, drawing especially on the talents of our Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. The tremendous resources of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center at UC Davis and the California Department of Health Services will also be harnessed, creating one of the most formidable cancer control programs in the country.

We are one of only 61 cancer centers to earn NCI designation in the last 31 years. Designation requires preeminence in cancer research, excellence in patient care and distinction in community outreach. While many centers can excel in one or even two of these areas, the rarity of designation is due to the difficulty in excelling in them all.
It is my pleasure to thank all of you for having made this possible. My pledge to you is that the promises of NCI designation will translate into benefits for all within our community.


Ralph W. deVere White, MD
Director, UC Davis Cancer Center


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Message to Editor
Supporting Cancer Center
UC Davis Cancer CenterUC Davis Health System

Ralph deVere White,
UC Davis Cancer Center