We are all facing an extraordinary and challenging time. Firstly, I wish all of you health and safety. Our routines have changed in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic. Nevertheless, the UF Health Cancer Center is dedicated to bringing hope to cancer patients through prevention, care and research.
The leaders of our cancer clinical services, Drs. Markham, Slayton, Okunieff and Hughes, along with Dr. Gibbs and other UF Health leaders, are working to continue to treat cancer patients safely and effectively through the anticipated stress on our health system. The UF Health Cancer Center will continue to support interventional clinical trials when these are a cancer patient’s best option for as long as clinical circumstances allow, but will suspend observational or ancillary studies.
On the basis of the university’s guidance, Cancer Center research groups are moving as many operations as possible remotely and limiting in-person meetings and experiments. However, this is obviously an opportunity to catch up on writing and reviewing papers and grants, planning experiments and deepening our knowledge, so that when in-person research resumes at full force, we will be even better prepared.
It is critical for the cancer research community to remain engaged and informed. To support our research community, we will continue our Oncology Grand Rounds and Topics in Cancer seminar series as online presentations featuring our own faculty. Please work with me, the leaders of these seminar series and our administration to fill out the schedule. The Cancer Biology Concentration will continue to have its journal club online as well. There are other learning opportunities and online courses being organized by the cancer research community across the nation and I will inform you of these events as we learn of them.
Lastly, we will continue planning toward the resubmission of the NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG). We will continue working with executive leadership, research program collaborators and other planning groups to strengthen our center.
Thank you for everything you do in the name of progress against cancer. Together, we will get through this challenge. Please let me know if the UF Health Cancer Center can offer you any assistance in the weeks ahead.
Jonathan Licht, M.D.
University of Florida Health Cancer Center