SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Michael S. Gordon, MD, one of the greater Phoenix area's leading medical oncologists and cancer researchers, has been named the new Medical Director for the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials program at Scottsdale Healthcare. Dr. Gordon will oversee the center's internationally recognized Phase I clinical trials program, which is known for its leadership in first-in-human studies of new cancer therapies.
Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare, a partnership with TGen, is a leading clinical research site for Phase I studies of new cancer drugs. It is often among the first in the world to offer a new investigational drug for eligible patients with a broad range of cancers.
Dr. Gordon is a medical oncologist who serves as CEO of Pinnacle Oncology Hematology, a division of Arizona Center for Cancer Care, in Scottsdale, focusing on translational research and the care and management of cancer patients seeking phase I and phase II clinical trials. He is a Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix, and is actively engaged in the education of medical students as co-director of the Oncology Block.
Dr. Gordon's principal research interests are in development of new cancer therapies with a focus on targeted and immunologic therapies as well as drugs that affect angiogenesis (tumor blood vessel supply). Avastin®, Perjeta® and Neumega® are among the drugs Dr. Gordon has helped validate for FDA approval. His disease focuses include kidney cancer, melanoma, prostate cancer, lung cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) and ovarian cancer.
Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare, through its relationships with top physician scientists, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies world wide, offers a variety of early-phase cancer research studies providing local impact to the citizens of Arizona, according to Dr. Gordon.
"The care and management of patients with cancer and associated diagnoses is rapidly evolving. The ability to provide patients with cutting-edge treatments has the potential to transform the way cancer care is delivered. The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare has always been a leader in this regard and its relationships with its community partners defines Scottsdale Healthcare's commitment to our patients and our community," said Dr. Gordon.
"I look forward to working with my colleagues and to the evolution of a new dynamic as we work to accelerate the access to new cancer drugs to our patients in need. By focusing on innovation in a collaborative spirit with our community physicians, we reinforce our primary commitment to our patients and their families," he continued.
Dr. Gordon specifically noted the strength of the talent in Scottsdale and their commitment to excellence. "Our programs have a tremendous core of individuals at all levels of clinical research and primary patient care who ensure that we do the best work possible, drawing greater focus on Scottsdale as the "go to" place for cancer drug development."
The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare and Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute are known for collaborations with leading genomic scientists, academic centers and community-based physicians such as the Arizona Center for Cancer Care, Palo Verde Hematology Oncology and Arizona Oncology Associates, said Mark Slater, PhD, chief executive, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute.
"We will continue to collaborate with our community physicians, our partners at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Translational Drug Development (TD2), nationally recognized universities and others to better serve our community and accelerate breakthrough innovations for cancer treatment," added Dr. Slater.
Examples of recent successes in accelerating new drug development at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center are skin cancer drug Erivedge® and the use of Abraxane for treating pancreatic cancer. Both worldwide studies were led in Scottsdale by Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, chief scientific officer of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen Physician-in-Chief.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Erivedge® for advanced basal cell carcinoma in January 2012 and approved Abraxane in combination with standard therapy for pancreatic cancer in September 2013.
"We are honing in on the pathways to help tailor the right drug to the right patient at the right time," said Dr. Von Hoff. "This is an exciting era of precision medicine and the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials program at Scottsdale Healthcare provides unprecedented access to new therapies for people in our community."
Ramesh Ramanathan, MD, an investigator at Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials specializing in treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, agreed that the program will benefit from the inclusion of Dr. Gordon.
"My passion is cancer research and I look forward to growing our program along with Dr. Gordon, Dr. Von Hoff and everyone involved in this important work at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare. I'm optimistic that we can continue our strong track record of success as we battle this disease," said Dr. Ramanathan, who is also a senior investigator and Clinical Professor at TGen and the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix.
"Our campus is becoming the epicenter of research activity across the Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network, and we are creating an infrastructure that continues to attract top talent to our organization," added Gary Baker, senior vice president and CEO, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center.
Baker noted that the depth of science through the diagnostic and genomic capabilities available to local cancer patients is a key benefit of the inclusiveness and collaborative spirit fostered within the Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute.
"It's a great example of locally based, yet nationally respected leading researchers, community physicians and clinical teams working together to develop new therapies and innovative treatments that benefit patients here in Arizona and across the United States," concluded Ron Korn, MD, PhD, medical director of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare.
The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare opened in 2001 as the first major cancer center in greater Phoenix, offering comprehensive cancer care and research through Phase I clinical trials, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and support services in collaboration with leading researchers and community oncologists.
Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare is known worldwide for its expertise in studying new treatments for pancreatic cancer. It is a co-lead site with Dr. Von Hoff as the principal investigator for Stand Up to Cancer's Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team comprised of scientists working to develop new treatments for pancreatic cancer.
The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, an affiliate of the Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network, is designated by the Association of Community Cancer Centers as a Community Resource Center for Pancreatic Cancer and holds Accreditation with Commendation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.
SOURCE Scottsdale Healthcare