Paul Okunieff, M.D., is the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Foundation and David B. and Leighan R. Rinker chair and serves as director of the UF Shands Cancer Center and chair of the College of Medicine department of radiation oncology.

Paul Okunieff, M.D., is the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Foundation and David B. and Leighan R. Rinker chair and serves as director of the UF Health Cancer Center and chair of the College of Medicine department of radiation oncology.

Every day, we make significant strides toward improving the lives of our patients β€” those who are in treatment for cancer currently and those who will be diagnosed days, weeks, months or even years in the future. We make the best decisions we can make for our patients today, with an eye on ensuring that fewer patients are diagnosed with the disease and that those who are can eventually be cured.

Some of the strides we have made recently toward achieving these goals include partnering with Orlando Health to establish the UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health, which will help expand and improve treatment options available for patients throughout Central Florida. It’s also why one of our goals includes becoming a National Cancer Institute-designated center. Only the most prestigious multidisciplinary cancer centers receive this designation. NCI designated centers focus considerable resources on developing research programs, faculty and facilities, all with the end goal of coming up with better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. These are our goals, and becoming NCI designated will elevate our center and give us access to the tools and resources we need to achieve them.

Because discovery is the key to everything we are trying to accomplish for our patients, we chose to highlight a handful of our innovative researchers in this issue of Believe in a Cure. From new drug discoveries that help develop personalized approaches to treatment to conducting clinical trials of new medicines, our researchers spend countless hours delving into the unknown, hoping to find new clues that could potentially unlock a cure.

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