We can't learn from each other if we don't share."; These wise words come from Lea Spencer, who was diagnosed with acute nonlymphocytic leukemia when she was only 36 years old and her children were young. Now in her 50s and a grandmother of four, Lea has been cancer free for 10 years and credits her survival to the clinical trial at UC Davis Cancer Center in which she participated.
Lea, and many patients like her, are the driving force behind our mission of discovering and sharing knowledge to advance health. After all, everything we do is for the people we serve here in California and beyond. Lea is also the epitome of why cancer care and research are strategic priorities for UC Davis.
Clinical trials, like the one Lea participated in, are key in bringing the newest, most advanced treatments and therapies to patients. She has called her clinical trial "the difference between life and death."; All the patients who participate in UC Davis Cancer Center's clinical trials program play critical roles in advancing medicine. The cancer center's program is a large clinical trials network and is a major part of what distinguishes UC Davis as a National Cancer Institute center.
Since we gained NCI designation, we've expanded our research program to include some 280 scientists at the cancer center, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Biological Sciences and the Department of Biomedical Engineering who work together to further our understanding of cancer. Together, they are discovering better treatments for individuals and identifying prevention strategies. Experts in these disciplines join to develop more effective and sophisticated tools to detect and treat cancer earlier, reach out and educate underserved populations about cancer risks, and examine the similarities of cancer between our companion animals and us so that we can develop better treatments for both. You can read more about these efforts in this issue of the magazine.
Medical advancements over the past 40 years have resulted in decreases in death rates for many cancers, putting us ever closer to winning the war on cancer. New technologies and increased understanding of genomics are helping us to better predict cancer risks in individuals and better target appropriate interventions.
UC Davis is well positioned to take advantage of these new opportunities to care for patients and influence standards of cancer prevention and treatment, but it must expand its facilities to do so. The number of patients visiting UC Davis Cancer Center has grown by 50 percent over the past five years, and it is continuing to increase.
To meet the demand for current and new treatments, the cancer center must raise $25 million through private, philanthropic support. These funds will add treatment space and new research labs that will allow our physicians and scientists to sustain and strengthen their discoveries of innovative therapies and to deliver effective and compassionate patient care. Please consider helping us reach our goal so that more people like Lea can call themselves cancer survivors.