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Building on basics

Dear Readers,

I'm glad to report that we continue to make advances in all phases of the cancer program. In our clinic, we are seeing continually more patients, a gratifying occurrence because patient care is our reason for existence. And I'm proud to share the results of a recent survey showing that our clinic staff is handling the increase wonderfully. Cancer Center patients ranked the staff first in overall clinical experience out of 20 hospital-based clinics within the UC Davis Health System. Looking to the future, the regional cancer centers in Yuba City, Marysville and Merced are well under way, and we are all eagerly anticipating their opening next year.

The clinical trials-clinical research program has greatly benefited from the guiding hands of clinical trials manager Mike Hughes and associate director for clinical research Dr. David Gandara. Dr. Primo Lara, the newest member of the Hematology and Oncology division, has joined them. Together they have increased our participation in phase I-phase II trials, an effort that will make more leading-edge therapies available to our patients. Their work, along with that of Paul Gumerlock on molecular correlative studies, is the main reasons why the California Cancer Consortium grant, which includes our colleagues at the University of Southern California and the City of Hope, will be headquartered at UC Davis when the grant is resubmitted next year.

Under Dr. Carol Richman's guidance, the adult bone marrow transplant program has just completed its busiest year yet. With the recruitment of Dr. Doug Taylor from Harvard Medical Center, we will soon be able to offer this valuable therapy to children as well. Taylor and Richman have formed the Bone Marrow Transplantation Affinity Group, which will expand the pediatric and adult portions of our integrated program.

Kit Lam, whom you will meet in this edition, has arrived with his team from the Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona Medical Center. He has been a great addition to our program, bringing new vision and excitement to the clinical research and translation portions of the cancer effort at UC Davis.

Hsing-Jien Kung continues to build a signal transduction program. He has recruited two outstanding researchers, Hongwu Chen of the Salk Institute and Kermit Carraway from Harvard, and we eagerly await their arrival this winter. In a future Synthesis we will introduce you to these doctors and their important work.

With all that accomplished, we are now concentrating on completing recruitment in three remaining leadership areas: breast cancer, biostatistics and cancer control. When we finish these recruitments we expect to have the necessary components for our Cancer Center Support Grant, and to officially apply for designation as a comprehensive cancer center from the National Cancer Institute.

Finally, I want to thank our volunteers and those of the Active 20-30 Club of Greater Sacramento #1032 for making it possible to hold our first-ever fund-raising gala, Passport to Morocco, on Nov. 6. We in the cancer program are extremely grateful for their dedicated efforts in making this event a reality.

Ralph W. deVere White, MD


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

Ralph deVere White,
UC Davis Cancer Center