Message from the President
Annual Report - 2006-2007
Our People, Our Patients,
Inspiration can come in many ways. At M. D. Anderson, our patients are a constant source of motivation for all our faculty, staff and volunteers. We share a deep and enduring commitment to helping the more than 85,000 people who entrust their lives to us each year.
It takes an extraordinary team to care for patients with cancer and to find solutions to the cancer problem. In this year’s Annual Report, we highlight a few individuals who are making it their life’s work to improve the care of our patients, to further cancer research and prevention efforts, and to strengthen our training and education initiatives. We also spotlight others who, as volunteers, give freely of their time to help our patients and their families or whose generous philanthropy supports our mission.
We are grateful for the contributions of those mentioned in this report, and just as thankful to the thousands of others on the M. D. Anderson team who work tirelessly to advance our knowledge and to better the lives of our patients.
In the last year, our scientists have made fundamental discoveries, uncovering critical factors that regulate cancer cell growth, spread and survival. They are collaborating with our clinical investigators to test whether any of these may be potential targets for therapy, and new drugs against these targets are entering early phase clinical trials.
At the other end of the spectrum, our prevention colleagues are making significant strides in characterizing cancer risk and susceptibility. They have developed a computer model, for example, that assesses individual risks for cancer among healthy people, pinpointing opportunities to intervene early and to reduce the risk that cancer will develop.
Our educators, too, have taken steps forward in addressing the shortage of oncologists, nurses and skilled technicians — a reality that, if overlooked, could severely impede our progress against cancer. To ensure this doesn’t happen, we have developed a plan that calls for enhancing our graduate and postgraduate education programs, and for quadrupling the number of undergraduate students in our School of Health Sciences who are learning the technologies used in cancer care.
Efforts to gain new insights into the causes of cancer and to bring new therapies to the clinic already have reduced deaths from cancer. While we have much to celebrate, cancer remains the number one cause of death for Americans under the age of 85. We have much more work to do.
Together, we look forward to reducing the burden of cancer as rapidly as possible.
John Mendelsohn, M.D.