• UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is home to 350 medical and radiation oncologists, cancer surgeons, and researchers.
• Established in 1979, it is one of just 40 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, and the only one in the San Diego region.
• In 2005, the Cancer Center dedicated its new home on the east campus of UC San Diego, adjacent to Thornton Hospital. The facility unites cancer-related research laboratories, clinical trials, prevention and outreach programs, and clinical care under one roof.
• With its patient population growing 18 percent a year, a new 10-story state-of-the art facility adjacent to Thornton Hospital will meet projected needs for inpatient care, including surgeries and bone and marrow transplants. Jacobs Medical Center, under construction for a grand opening in 2016, will include a new Hospital for Cancer Care, designed with significant input from cancer patients and their families to create a healing, supportive environment.
BY SHELLI DEROBERTIS
Developing personalized cancer treatment is just one specialty Scott M. Lippman, M.D., 57, brings to his new job as director of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. As he circles back to his California roots after decades of extensive cancer research in Texas, Lippman brings to the center, years of experience in clinical trials.
Lippman graduated from Grossmont High School in El Cajon and attended UC Irvine on a tennis scholarship.
He said he figured he would study medicine for a few years while he competed in the sport, his passion. Ultimately, he completed his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University.
After hematology training at Stanford, Lippman finished his hematology/oncology fellowship at the University of Arizona where he met his wife, Mary.
After they married, he accepted a position at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
“I had to bring my wife kicking and screaming. She didn’t want to go,” he said. “I promised I’d be there about five years, and we were there 24 years.”
During that time, Lippman received numerous funds from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for his research, serving as the principal investigator in clinical trials that included translational/molecular studies of cancer risk and personalized therapy using molecular-targeted drug development.
“What’s changed in terms of treatment in cancer is (the recognition, realization) that every patient is different,” Lippman said. “I really want to be able to make a clinical impact in such specialized treatment.”
He said the La Jolla location is a prime opportunity for delivering such care with its concentration of three NCI-designated cancer research centers – out of 41 nationwide.
He also wants to take advantage of the proximity to the county’s hundreds of biotech companies, explaining that 90 percent of drugs approved for cancer treatment come from biotech industries that he visions he will one day work with directly.
Lippman succeeds Dennis A. Carson, M.D., as director of the cancer center. Carson noted it was a hard job to fill because the patients are very ill and there’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with the university.