DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - A national figure in breast cancer research is headed to USC to serve as co-leader of the Women’s Cancer Program at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Debasish (Debu) Tripathy has been appointed professor of medicine by Keck School of Medicine Dean Carmen A. Puliafito, effective Aug. 1. Tripathy will hold the Art and Priscilla Ulene Chair in Women’s Cancer and will be head of the Section of Women’s Cancers, Division of Oncology, in the Department of Medicine. He will join Dr. Michael Press, Professor of Pathology, who has been associated with the Women’s Cancer Program for the last 16 years.

“Dr. Tripathy is a national authority in breast cancer,” said Puliafito. “We are delighted that he is coming to USC as we strengthen our clinical research activities and our patient-focused programs.”

Tripathy comes to USC from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he served as a professor of Internal Medicine, director of the Komen/UT Southwestern Breast Cancer Research Program and holder of the Annette Simmons Distinguished Chair in Breast Cancer Research. He was also president and CEO of Physicians’ Education Resource in Dallas, a continuing medical education and publishing company specializing in oncology and hematology.

As the incoming co-leader of the Women’s Cancer Program, Tripathy has identified several goals, including developing a nationally recognized women’s cancer service; increasing the number of treatment and clinical trial options for patients; developing a clinical trials and research program that matches the needs of patients and interfaces with the areas of scientific excellence at USC; setting up community outreach programs and forums; and establishing a national and international leadership position in medical peer oncology education.

“I believe that USC is responding to a new mission that is an expansion of patient care, a bigger commitment to research, and a dedication to having the two work side by side,” said Tripathy. “I believe that clinical care, clinical research and laboratory research all go hand in hand.”

A nationally recognized figure in clinical research, Tripathy’s primary area of interest is breast cancer therapy. For the past 20 years, he has studied growth factor receptors, important targets in breast and other cancers. Tripathy was part of the original team that brought the now commonly used drug Herceptin into clinical care. Currently, his focus is on expanding what is known about growth factor receptors and developing newer treatments for patients who are resistant to the existing therapeutic options.

“Dr. Tripathy’s work will enhance our efforts to bring basic molecular research on breast cancer from the lab to the clinic, where we can directly benefit patients,” said Peter Jones, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We are elated that he will be joining us.”

Beyond his expertise in clinical research, Tripathy is profoundly involved in patient care and survivorship issues.

He is particularly interested in the patient perspective of the cancer experience and dissemination of informational tools. Tripathy is co-author of the book Breast Cancer: Beyond Convention, featuring advice from other prominent physicians such as Susan Love and Dean Ornish. He also serves as editor-in-chief of Cure magazine, which is the most widely circulated cancer-specific magazine for patients.

Tripathy has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Heroes Award, presented by the Breast Cancer Fund for excellence in clinical care. He also received the Award in Medicine Research by the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce for his outstanding research accomplishments in breast cancer.

“I am excited to come to USC because historically this place has a wonderful track record of excellence in the basic sciences and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the original cancer centers from 1973,” said Tripathy. “All of those things together, along with the University’s new commitment to patient care and clinical research, told me that this is the right place and the right time.”

Article courtesy of USC HSC Weekly.

page 15, 06/22/2009

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