The magazine of UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Spring/Summer 2014

Director’s Message

Dear Reader,

What distinguishes a comprehensive cancer center from other cancer centers is team science — the ability, determination and obligation to link scientists and physicians from distinctly different disciplines to work on tough problems together.

This issue of Synthesis covers several projects that engage multidisciplinary teams of professionals, all with the single goal of improving outcomes for patients.

The research partnership between specialists at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the UC Davis Department of Radiation Oncology, for example, demonstrates how the trial of an immunotherapy agent combined with radiation can extend life for dogs with melanoma, and may one day offer hope to human melanoma patients, as well. Clinicians and scientists also are pursuing the exciting field of glycomics in their joint search for biomarkers for ovarian and other cancers that are often caught too late for treatment to be effective.

Team science doesn’t always take place in laboratories.

In our story about the Cancer Care Network and Tahoe area resident Lisa Peltier, for example, you will read how teams of physicians from UC Davis and our network hospitals use telemedicine and virtual tumor boards to plan complex treatment and clinical trials participation so that patients can get leading-edge care in their own communities.

Finally, this issue’s Outreach feature describes how cancer center social workers are teaming with physicians on a new tool to assess patients’ social and emotional needs so that they can get the support they need throughout their care.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Synthesis, and we would love your feedback. Contact our editor, Dorsey Griffith, at

Ralph de Vere White