UCLA Medical Center
The Surgical Oncology program encompasses a multi-disciplinary effort involving cancer treatment, clinical cancer research, and applied and basic laboratory investigations related to the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of malignant solid tumors. The program's primary component is located collectively at the UCLA Medical Center for inpatient care, the 200 Medical Plaza for outpatient care, and at the Sepulveda Veterans Administration Medical Center. Members of the Surgical Oncology program have developed clinical research protocols in the use of preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy, prior to definitive oncologic surgery. In addition, experimental immunotherapeutic approaches have been used in efforts to find better methods of treatment for patients with malignant melanoma and renal cell carcinoma.
Basic research studies related to human cancer include investigation of the relationship of oncogenes to tumor initiation and progression, studies of nuclear imaging to determine the response of tumors to preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and the modification of tumor infiltrating lymphocyte function for the treatment of malignant disease. Interaction between the basic research and clinical investigators has allowed the Surgical Oncology program to fully realize the research potential of its large cancer patient case load, as well as facilitating optimal clinical care for these patients.
Clinical research activities include studies of localized chemotherapy prior to definitive (non-amputative) surgery for patients with skeletal and soft tissue sarcoma, as well as preoperative therapy for patients with metastatic disease. The use and development of new immunologic techniques are studied for both diagnosis and therapy in patients with malignant solid tumors. There is also an extensive research program on the early detection of lung cancer, using monoclonal antibody determination of sputum cytology. Newer forms of therapy such as modification of tumor infiltrating lymphocyte function with activated genes has been accomplished "in vivo" and plans are now underway for clinical trials. Basic research activities in the Surgical Oncology program are interrelated and may be divided into three basic components; (1) molecular biology, focusing on the relationship of various oncogenes to tumor initiation and prognosis, (2) tumor immunology, related to the function of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes and natural killer cells, and (3) modification of the function of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes with gene and gene products.
The primary goal of the Surgical Oncology program is to provide quality state of the art care for its patients. This includes surgical oncology consultation with the staff of the UCLA Medical Center and its affiliated hospitals, and with physicians in surrounding communities and other portions of the country.