It’s hard to believe that fifty years have gone by since then President (and Orange County native), Richard Nixon declared “war” on cancer in 1971. At that time, the landscape was bleak. Cancer rates were approaching all-time highs, and the disease had just become the nation’s second leading cause of death. With the passage of the National Cancer Act that year, funding for cancer-related programs was established, and slowly, over time, progress was made in the fight against this terrible disease.
While it’s heartening to know just how far we’ve come since then, there is still much more work that needs to be done. At the Department of Radiation Oncology at UCI, where our specialists have dedicated their lives to fighting cancer, we need your help. Our mission to continue to create the environment that provides leadership and excellence in research, teaching and patient care is enhanced by your monetary support. With your contributions, we can continue to strive towards fulfilling our mission of working towards a cure for cancer.
As Chair of Radiation Oncology, I know there has never been a more opportune time in medical history for making rapid, significant advances in cancer treatment. Our department is investing heavily in developing unique clinical trials, accelerating “bench-to-bedside” collaboration between our laboratories and clinics, pioneering the most technologically advanced equipment, and ensuring that we are doing our utmost to educate the next generation of leaders and researchers in the specialty. To provide just one small example, our department was recently the first Radiation Oncology center on the West Coast (third nationally) to acquire FLASH technology-- which potentially allows an entire course of radiation to be delivered in a matter of seconds, which will obviate the need for the daily treatments for up to 6-7 weeks that most patients currently have to endure. To this end, the talented team of investigators we have assembled at UCI are working around-the-clock to understand how this technology could be a true “game-changer” in cancer care.
Lastly, we are also amidst a well-publicized campaign to build a Radiation Oncology center as part of the new UCI health sciences campus in Irvine-Newport Beach, with an expected opening date of 2023. There will be several new state-of-the-art radiation machines at this new center, and I am excited about the enhanced capabilities to serve our patients. It is only with the backing of our community and with generous supporters like you that will allow us to reach our fullest potential.
At UCI Radiation Oncology, we are passionate about our responsibility to take the lead in the war against cancer. As academic physicians and researchers, we live on the front lines. On behalf of the faculty and staff in the Department of Radiation Oncology, I am grateful for your consideration as we look towards taking the next giant leaps in our fight against cancer.
Allen M. Chen, MD, MBA
Professor and Chair