George Weiner: Leading the fight against cancer

Monday, March 02, 2015


Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa is one of 41 comprehensive cancer centers nationwide—and the only one in Iowa—designated by the National Cancer Institute. The cancer center’s director, George Weiner, MD, the C.E. Block Chair of Cancer Research and professor of internal medicine at the UI, visited with Medicine Iowa before starting a two-year term in October as president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), which comprises 92 leading cancer research centers in the United States. Follow his blog, Holden the Line on Cancer.

Q: Why are cancer research centers so important today?

A: Cancer is much more complex than we ever thought. Indeed, every cancer is unique. Because of this complexity, it’s increasingly important to have cancer samples studied at the molecular level, and to have treatment plans discussed and reviewed by an interdisciplinary clinical team that focuses on a particular type of cancer. That’s something only a large cancer center can do.

Experts in medical oncology, surgery, radiation therapy, pathology, radiology, genetics, pharmacology, and cell biology who focus on specific types of cancer work together to look at each case and make a recommendation. Such interdisciplinary interactions are also vital for cancer research. A cancer research center supports teams of researchers with a broad range of backgrounds who can then collaborate on development and testing of new ideas related to cancer prevention, early detection, and therapy. 

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