From the Director’s Desk

Paul Okunieff, M.D.

We want to cure cancer. We want to catch it early if we can. But even if we can’t, we want to cure it anyway.

Some people think when a cancer spreads, that’s it, game over. It’s not.

Here at the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center, we are committed to finding innovative ways to treat this disease, and ultimately, cure it. Even in patients with metastatic cancer, the ones now considered “incurable.” And the University of Florida has the tools to do it.

The cancer enterprise at UF — scientists and clinicians both in Gainesville and Jacksonville, along with the Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville and our cooperative research venture with Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa — is remarkable. We have a history of excellence in clinical care and a university so broad in scope that the best minds in the world can be tapped to end cancer. My mission as director is to harness the enormous creative drive of these outstanding researchers and clinicians.

In 2008, UF joined forces with the Moffitt Cancer Center to form a collaborative research initiative that draws on the respective strengths of each institution. This effort promises to raise the level of care for all Floridians, particularly by expanding the range and scope of clinical trials available to cancer patients.

Together, we will produce the breakthrough science needed to end the heartache of cancer. That’s the main reason I wake up in the morning and why I came to Florida last year.

Every day we make progress. Our researchers recently received nearly $9 million from the state of Florida’s Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program, which supports work aimed at discovering a cure. This year we have already applied for a record number of grants from the American Cancer Society, and our scientists have received multiple new grants from the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies.

The time to treat and fight this disease is now. Our patients cannot wait. At UF, we have a unique opportunity to identify patients who can be cured as well as approaches for the early detection of cancer. People who currently are not given hope can find hope here.

 Paul Okunieff, MD

Director, UF Shands Cancer Center

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Fall 2010

From the Director’s Desk

We want to cure cancer. We want to catch it early if we can. But even if we can’t, we want to cure it anyway. Here at the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center, we are committed to finding innovative ways to treat this disease, and ultimately, cure it.

Changing the Way Cancer is Treated

The University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville has delivered more than 73,000 treatments to more than 2,200 patients, placing it among the top 10 proton therapy centers in the world.

A Healing Space

Perched on a bed in a room overlooking Paynes Prairie, Teresa Hughes adjusts the fuzzy brown cap she’s wearing and recalls the day in June when she couldn’t ignore how sick she felt anymore.

Babies?

Preserving fertility is a complicated issue for young cancer patients. It’s a question a 28-year-old woman might ask her doctor after learning she has been diagnosed with cancer. But a 13-year-old girl?

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