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Building on basics

Dear readers,

Undoubtedly many of you have read about the problems at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the questions that have been raised about the importance of the interactions between the national laboratories and the University of California. While I cannot speak to the other laboratories, I certainly can talk about the relationship between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and our cancer center.

The relationship is of great benefit to both institutions. To cite just one example, our integrated cancer research program was a driving force in the establishment of the Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology at UC Davis. Funded by a $40 million National Science Foundation grant, the center unites scientists from UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stanford and five other universities nationwide. Dennis Matthews, leader of the medical technology program at Lawrence Livermore, and Jim Boggan, a neurosurgeon in our cancer program, are co-directors of the new center.
Our integrated cancer program will share research space with the biophotonics center, in a new building next to our existing research buildings. And our scientists will share knowledge and ideas. Just this spring, cancer center and Lawrence Livermore scientists jointly applied for a $5 million grant to develop optical methods of detecting and treating cancer.

Other joint projects are in the works, to the mutual good of both UC Davis and Lawrence Livermore — and to the benefit of our patients, now and in the future.

In this issue, you will read about John Boone’s development of a kinder, gentler, more accurate mammogram system based on CT scanning technology. You will also meet Wolf-Dietrich Heyer, who explains how cellular DNA repair mechanisms may be manipulated to render anti-cancer therapy more effective.

Colleen Sweeney, who joined our program from Harvard, tells us about her efforts to understand how localized transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder metastasizes. Fred Meyers, long a leader in palliative care, describes his pioneering new model of cancer treatment, a humane approach that allows patients to fight their disease and receive hospice care at the same time.

Finally, we are delighted to introduce you to Srinivasan Vijayakumar from the University of Illinois as chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology. Why he is such a great asset to our program will be revealed in this issue of Synthesis.


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


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Supporting Cancer Center
UC Davis Cancer CenterUC Davis Health System


Ralph deVere White,
UC Davis Cancer Center