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Promise and Progress - Director's Letter

Leading the Way Fall 2009 Winter 2010

Director's Letter

By: Bill Nelson
Date: December 1, 2009

IAM HUMBLED WHEN I CONSIDER that, as the director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, I am following two of the greatest figures in cancer medicine, Albert Owens and Martin Abeloff. Dr. Owens helped found the discipline of oncology and Dr. Abeloff led
our Center through a period of rapid growth, not only in physical structure, but also in discovery.

And, now it is my turn to lead the Center through the next era of cancer medicine as we simultaneously face tremendous opportunities as well as equal challenges.

Our Center remains strong, even in these difficult economic times, attracting the best and brightest minds in the field and continuing as leaders in cancer research and treatment. Our donors are steadfast in their support of our mission.

Our work is very much your work. In this issue, you’ll read about research projects that simply would not have been possible without the support of private donors, foundations, and corporations. This support keeps the Kimmel Cancer Center strong.

You’ll also read about our scientists who are using new technologies and unique collaborations to further decipher the complex genetic code of cancer cells and
make personalized cancer treatment a reality. Therapies that we imagined more than a decade ago—those that target the genetic defects of the cancer cell—are now
becoming a mainstay in cancer treatment. Pathology is no longer just about distinguishing the cancer cell from the normal cell, but identifying the genetic weaknesses of each cancer so that we can attack it with treatment regimens that work directly against cancers and leave healthy cells unharmed.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating: There is no more exciting time to be a part of cancer medicine than now. The benefits of decades of research have truly begun to payoff in the form of new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.

William G. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.
Marion I. Knott Professor and Director
The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins