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To our readers

In the spring issue of Synthesis, I outlined the origins and goals of the UC Davis Cancer Program. It is a pleasure to report now that a number of these plans are coming to fruition.

Our greatest sense of excitement stems from hiring Hsing-Jien Kung as basic science director for the UC Davis Cancer Program. Dr. Kung is an expert in signal transduction, a very broad field of research that will allow him and his fellow researchers to interact with many individuals and groups throughout our campus. Dr. Kung has already begun recruiting his first colleague, an expert in evaluating how chemotherapeutic agents interact with cancer cells.

We have also completed our search for a biostatistician. This candidate, whose appointment is awaiting approval, has a long track record working with clinicians and researchers in a cancer center and is interested in looking at mathematical programs that will speed testing of new drugs to bring them into the clinical arena quickly without compromising safety.

In recent months we have reorganized our clinical research program and have partnered with the venture group Velos Oncology of New York to build a cancer information system known as HOMER. HOMER, a source for patient management, clinical trials and research units, will support patient care, and clinical and translational research in the new century.

We are also committed to using our research to help treat our patients. The Cancer Center at UC Davis has been a major participant in national clinical trials for the past 10 years, providing our patients access to new treatment and prevention strategies. Still, many patients wonder if new treatments will come soon enough. To address their concerns UC Davis oncologist and principal investigator David Gandara collaborates on Phase I and Phase II experimental drug treatment programs with other researchers at the University of Southern California and the City of Hope.

Through the use of teleconferencing we are also starting a program our patients can use to consult with a cancer specialist without leaving their own doctors' offices. This innovative program allows patients to receive the best care in an appropriate and convenient setting close to home. It also means that if they need to be referred to cancer specialists, they will already have a relationship with this cancer center and our physicians.

Ralph W. deVere White, MD


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Ralph deVere White,
UC Davis Cancer Center