As I write, the directors of National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers from throughout the United States are working together to ensure treatment for the estimated 7,000 cancer patients whose care was disrupted by Hurricane Katrina. Since the hurricane hit, the directors of all 60 cancer centers have gathered via teleconference to work through the logistics of arranging treatment, transportation and lodging for affected cancer patients and their families, and to ensure that patients participating in NCI-sponsored cancer clinical trials experience as little disruption in their trial protocols as possible.
At UC Davis, we identified inpatient beds that can be made available to evacuees at the Veterans Administration teaching hospital and in the UC Davis Health System's new General Clinical Research Center. Our clinics are prepared to accept displaced patients as well, and we have worked with other area agencies to determine options for temporary housing for patients and families. We have also offered to take on clinical trial associates, nurses and other medical personnel whose jobs were lost due to the storm.
A disaster on the scale of Hurricane Katrina is a national tragedy. Our faculty and staff, as they rally to help affected cancer patients, share the sorrow of everyone affected by the devastation.
At the same time, we have cause to celebrate at the Cancer Center. In July, after a rigorous and exhaustive peer review, UC Davis Cancer Center was awarded a five-year renewal of its National Cancer Institute designation, first granted in July 2002. NCI designation is awarded only to cancer centers with the demonstrated ability to make significant contributions to the nation's cancer agenda. We were recognized for our original, groundbreaking research with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, our unique, collaborative culture that draws on disciplines as diverse as veterinary medicine and plant metabolomics, and our potential to impact on cancer worldwide.
There is much more news to share. In this issue of Synthesis, we bring you a trio of articles about exciting new developments in imaging technology. I invite you to read about the new ways we're looking at cancer. You'll also meet Francesca Arnaudo, who at age 9 has overcome two cancers. And you'll learn about our latest research into the health risks of naturally occurring asbestos in California. From Sacramento to the Gulf Coast, this is a time of real progress and high hopes for everyone facing cancer.