Our cancer research program is made up of 286 individuals whose charge is to increase the pace at which cancer patients' lives are made better. This edition of Synthesis highlights only a few of the diverse ways in which we are reaching this goal.
While understanding the molecular mechanisms that cause cancer is highly complex, some of the insights are very simple. Dr. Jim Felton, co-leader of our Cancer Etiology, Prevention and Control Program, has found that how you cook your meat may make all the difference in your prostate cancer risk.
Through interactions with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and in our own Department of Biomedical Engineering, we are pursuing a number of approaches by which light can be used to fight cancer. Dr. Laura Marcu, an associate professor of biomedical engineering who recently joined our team from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, is taking a particularly promising approach. She will tell you how she is harnessing light to help neurosurgeons in the operating room more accurately distinguish malignant from healthy brain tissue, a key to preventing cancer recurrence and limiting side effects.
One of the unique strengths of the Cancer Center is the diverse expertise it can draw upon. Dr. Mary Delany, professor and chair of the renowned UC Davis Department of Animal Sciences, will tell you how she is employing her knowledge of avian genetics to turn chicken eggs into inexpensive, efficient laboratories for the manufacture of antibodies that can be used to treat or image tumors.
As a National Cancer Institute center, we have an obligation, in addition to caring for patients and conducting medical research, to work to improve the health of everyone in our region, particularly those from medically underserved communities. Toward this end, we recently partnered with Sacramento State to eliminate regional disparities in cancer prevention and control.
You will learn about one of the partnership's first major activities, the West Coast debut of a traveling art exhibit designed to spark a dialogue about ovarian cancer.
You will also meet Dina Howard, one of the 9,000 patients we cared for last year. During her treatment for and recovery from breast cancer, Howard recorded an audio journal that became a one-hour radio documentary that aired on Capital Public Radio in December. Her inspirational account reminds all of us there is life after cancer.
Our work cannot be accomplished on grants alone. We must have the help of concerned, philanthropic-minded individuals. Ken and Judy Farrar are such people. You will read about what this Vacaville couple has done to help ensure researchers have the support they need to carry out their studies, whether in the laboratory or the clinic.
I thank you again for your interest in UC Davis Cancer Center, and hope that this edition of Synthesis will show you we are using your trust and support to the very best of our abilities.