Founding leader of cancer center’s clinical research to head international association

(SACRAMENTO)

Karen L. Kelly will step down from her position as associate director for Clinical Research at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in early 2022 when she assumes her new role as chief executive officer of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), based in Denver, Colo.

Karen Kelly

During her 10 years at UC Davis Health, Kelly helped forge a new future for cancer research as she led clinical trials development, fostered innovation, and streamlined the process for all faculty and staff in the department. Kelly’s own lung cancer research has helped elevate the standing of UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in the oncology research world. 

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the UC Davis team,” said Kelly. “My years of service will be instrumental in guiding me on my new adventure.”

Kelly said she intends to remain on the UC Davis faculty as emeritus professor.  

Kelly led the clinical trials program at the cancer center since 2011. Currently, the cancer center’s Office of Clinical Research oversees more than 200 clinical trials as well as the novel Sacramento Citywide Oncology Phase I program (SCOPE), an academic-community partnership that encompasses the major hospital systems in the Sacramento region. 

The cancer center continues to conduct a broad spectrum of Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III trials to test the safety and efficacy of newly developed drugs. UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only institution in Northern California, outside of the Bay Area, with the infrastructure required to conduct Phase I clinical trials.

“Dr. Kelly has been an invaluable and integral member of the cancer center for over a decade. We appreciate her tireless efforts on behalf of the Office of Clinical Research and the thousands of patients who benefited from groundbreaking and life-saving clinical trials here,” said UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Primo “Lucky” Lara, Jr. “We are tremendously proud of this new opportunity for Dr. Kelly to advance and promote lung cancer and thoracic research on an international stage and wish her nothing but the best in this new endeavor.”

Kelly is an active, long-standing member of the IASLC and former member of the IASLC Board of Directors

The IASLC is the only global network dedicated to the study and eradication of lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. Since its founding in 1974, the association’s membership has grown to more than 8,000 lung and thoracic cancer specialists from all disciplines and more than 100 countries. By hosting global conferences, funding cutting-edge research, and educating the health care community and the public about thoracic cancers, the IASLC works to alleviate the burden lung cancer places on patients, families and communities.

A national search for UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Clinical Research associate director will commence shortly.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 100,000 adults and children every year and access to more than 200 active clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 240 scientists at UC Davis who work collaboratively to advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Patients have access to leading-edge care, including immunotherapy and other targeted treatments. Its Office of Community Outreach and Engagement addresses disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations, and the cancer center provides comprehensive education and workforce development programs for the next generation of clinicians and scientists. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.

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