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Building on basics

Dear Readers,

Some very joyous and very sad events have transpired since I last wrote to you. As for the latter, we lost Peter McCuen, a founding member and chair of our Executive Board of Directors, to cancer. We are all truly thankful for the start Peter gave us. Beyond that, I will miss him as a friend and patient.

As for the former, three exciting developments have occurred that will help speed our efforts to achieve National Cancer Institute designation.

First, we have begun forming an integrated cancer program with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This affiliation, while still in the planning phases, will bring immense expertise to our cancer program. It covers many areas focused, in broad terms, on outstanding technology in molecular biology. Lawrence Livermore also boasts experts in fields that you might not necessarily associate with the nationally-recognized scientific institution, such as cancer control. The full extent of what the integrated program will mean to people in the Central Valley will be laid out in the next issue of Synthesis. I believe you will be as excited as I am about this program and what it can accomplish.

To submit a grant for cancer center designation from the National Cancer Institute, one must first meet with them and receive approval to do so. In January the senior leadership of the UC Davis Cancer Center together with Dennis Matthews, program leader for the medical technology program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, met with NCI representatives in Washington, D.C. I am delighted to report that our program and the proposed integration with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was extremely well received. Based on this information, we will submit our grant to NCI for designation in February 2001.

Our recruitment efforts continue at a brisk pace. Hongwu Chen has joined Hsing-Jien Kung's laboratory; final negotiations are underway to bring the second recruit to his basic cancer science program. A leader for our biostatistical unit has been identified and the name submitted for approval. We expect this program to be up and running by September. Two breast cancer candidates are deep in negotiation, one to lead the clinical program, the other an integrated basic science effort.

These recruits form the lifeblood of our growing program. If we are to continue recruitment at this pace, however, we must find new research space in Sacramento. The urgency of this was recognized by the Chancellor, who gave permission for an outside organization, All Star Investments, led by John Thomas and Ken Fouts, to undertake raising money to build us a new research facility in Sacramento. We have, under their leadership, met with a number of companies over the past three months and are hopeful that we will soon be able to start construction on a new building. In this way, our quest continues.

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