|Emory University School of Medicine has established the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology as its newest department and has named Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, as department chair. Dr. Khuri will also hold the Roberto C. Goizueta Chair for Cancer Research.
Brian Leyland-Jones, MD, PhD, director of Emory's Winship Cancer Institute, notes that this is a timely and important step for the Cancer Institute.
"The newly created Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology is vital to Emory Winship's development as a true comprehensive cancer center," says Dr. Leyland-Jones. "And Dr. Khuri is the natural choice to serve in this important position. Dr. Khuri is internationally recognized as a leader for his work in improving therapies for tobacco-related cancers. In addition, he has earned tremendous respect among faculty, staff and our patients for his leadership, his devotion to patient care and his incredible work ethic."
"Over the past several years, we have seen vital and dynamic growth within the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory," says Thomas Lawley, MD, dean of Emory University School of Medicine. "Now is the time for a new phase of strategic development for Emory Winship, a time to grow into an integrated and collaborative organization comprised of clinicians and scientists in Hematology and Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Pediatrics and Surgical Oncology."
Prior to its designation as a department, Hematology and Medical Oncology existed as a section within the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Lawley notes that Dr. Leyland-Jones, who joined Emory in January of 2007, saw the potential for Emory Winship as a true matrix cancer center if Hematology and Medical Oncology were designated as a formal department within the School of Medicine.
"There are tremendous opportunities for collaboration throughout the Woodruff Health Sciences Center," says Dr. Leyland-Jones. "Establishing this department essentially clears the way for faculty to maximize collaboration and build the vertical and horizontal strength required of a comprehensive cancer center. Emory Winship is an emerging national and international force in cancer research and treatment. We have the tools, personnel and support of Emory University and the Woodruff Health Sciences Center as well as the State of Georgia. Our goal is to eradicate the burden of cancer in Georgia and beyond, and we will remain focused on that target."
Comprised of physicians, scientific and clinical researchers, and nursing professionals, Hematology and Medical Oncology has seen a steady increase in patients and research funding since the opening of the 280,000-square-foot Emory Winship building in 2003. Dr. Leyland-Jones also notes the number of oncology patient visits continues to increase at Emory University Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, the Georgia Cancer Center of Excellence at Grady and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center -- all served by faculty within Hematology and Medical Oncology.
In May 2008, Emory Winship will submit a grant application to the National Cancer Institute for Cancer Center designation, which will establish Emory Winship among the nation's elite cancer facilities in terms of research, treatment and outreach.
As chair of the new department, Dr. Khuri will oversee clinical and basic research as well as the delivery of oncology clinical services at each facility within Emory Healthcare. Prior to accepting the chairmanship of the newly created department, Dr. Khuri served as Emory Winship's deputy director of clinical and translational research and section head of hematology and oncology.
"We have been very successful in earning research grant funding from the NCI as well as from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and numerous philanthropic foundations," says Dr. Khuri. "Emory's NCI funding base has increased three-fold over the last six years, a remarkable growth rate, and the majority of these new grants involve leadership from members of Hematology and Medical Oncology. I am fortunate to lead this department, which is staffed at all levels with dedicated and talented professionals."
Since joining Emory Winship as Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research, Dr. Khuri has helped lead the substantial increase in federal cancer funding at Emory. He has recruited more than 25 faculty to Emory’s hematology and medical oncology section, and has played an integral role in recruiting leading research and clinical faculty to Emory. Dr. Khuri serves as principal investigator of a $7.9 million P01 grant in lung cancer and as co-principal investigator on the $12.5 million Specialized Project of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant in head and neck cancer, both from the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Khuri also notes the importance of the Roberto C. Goizueta Chair for Cancer Research, which was initiated as an endowed cancer research fund in 1997. "We will work to extend Mr. Goizueta's vision for creating sustainable change and long-term impact for our community and beyond. We are honored to be able to play a role in implementing that vision through high-impact research into lung and aerodigestive cancers."
Dr. Khuri, a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar, joined Emory in 2002 from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he was associate professor of medicine. Dr. Khuri's clinical interests include thoracic and head and neck oncology. His research interests include development of molecular, prognostic, therapeutic and chemopreventive approaches to improve the standard of care for patients with tobacco-related cancers.
Dr. Khuri is the recipient of numerous awards, including being listed among America's Top Doctors and the Marquis Who's Who in the World, and he has been elected into the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation. Dr. Khuri serves on the editorial boards of seven journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research and Cancer. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and editorials in elite journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Medicine, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Khuri earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Boston City Hospital, Boston University School of Medicine. He completed a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology.