Leukemia expert Susan M. O’Brien to lead UC Irvine cancer research efforts

Researcher comes from MD Anderson Cancer Center

November 10, 2014

Susan M. O’Brien, MD, one of the nation’s foremost leukemia experts, will be joining UC Irvine Health as Associate Director for Clinical Science for the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Medical Director of the Sue and Ralph Stern Center for Cancer Clinical Trials and Research.

Her appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2015.

A renowned researcher and clinician, O’Brien’s leadership will help UC Irvine Health and the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center increase both the number and complexity of innovative, outcomes-focused clinical trials.

“This is an exciting time for cancer research. UC Irvine Health has an opportunity to build on its decades-long commitment to serving our region with leading-edge treatments and access to clinical trials,” said Richard A. Van Etten, MD, PhD, director, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Irvine.

“As a comprehensive cancer center, we have an obligation to lead the way in our region and nationally,” he said. “Dr. O’Brien’s appointment is a critical step toward achieving those goals.”

O’Brien comes to UC Irvine from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where she was the Ashbel Smith Professor in the Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine. She has been principal investigator for more than 40 funded clinical research protocols and has authored more than 600 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 30 invited articles, and numerous book chapters and abstracts. 

She is the chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Guidelines Committee, a member of the NCCN Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Guidelines Committee and is the hematology member of the Southwest Oncology Group Executive Committee.

As Associate Director for Clinical Science, O’Brien will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating clinical cancer research across the entire UC Irvine Health enterprise, including medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology and gynecologic oncology. 

O’Brien will take the lead with UC Irvine Health clinical investigators to expand the portfolio of early phase clinical trials and launch a formal Experimental Therapeutics Program in her role as medical director of the Sue and Ralph Stern Center for Cancer Clinical Trials and Research.

One of 45 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. and the only one in Orange County, the UC Irvine Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center is dedicated to excellence in cancer treatment, prevention, research and education. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care during 91,000 annual patient visits and conduct more than 150 ongoing clinical trials that offer access to the latest, cutting-edge cancer treatments.

UC Irvine Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UC Irvine Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 412-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 14 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UC Irvine Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. Located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities, it’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy.


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