Loyola to Pursue NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center Designation
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Loyola to Pursue NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center Designation

MAYWOOD, IL –  Loyola Medicine's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine are expanding their renowned cancer program to advance the pursuit of National Cancer Institute designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

As a major part of this initiative, Stritch is launching a new Department of Cancer Biology to study cancer at the molecular level.

"This new department will work collaboratively with researchers and clinicians at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center," said Steve A.N. Goldstein, MD, PhD, dean and chief diversity officer of Stritch. "We will be growing the program by recruiting some of the nation's leading researchers in cancer biology."

David Hecht, MD, MS, MBA, Loyola Medicine's executive vice president of clinical affairs, said, "Dean Goldstein and I are very excited about this plan, which will raise the stature of our nationally known cancer program."

National Cancer Institute Cancer Centers are recognized for their scientific leadership, resources and depth and breadth of research. An elite subgroup of Comprehensive Cancer Centers, these institutions demonstrate their substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges scientific areas.

To achieve this goal, cancer program leaders will transition to new roles.

William Small, Jr., MD, FACRO, FACR, FASTRO, chair of the department of radiation oncology, will become director of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and lead the effort to achieve Comprehensive Cancer Center designation.

"Dr. Small will build upon the many years of work and leadership of Dr. Patrick Stiff," Dr. Hecht said.

Dr. Stiff, the Coleman Professor of Oncology, is transitioning from director of the cancer center in order to focus more intently on clinical care and research. Dr. Stiff remains director of the division of hematology/oncology, leader of Loyola's bone marrow transplant program and chair of the SWOG Blood and Marrow Transplant Committee. Dr. Stiff also will continue as co-leader of the oncology service line for the medical center.

Dr. Stiff is co-investigator of two recent National Institutes of Health grants. The first, from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, establishes Loyola as the only center in Illinois to be named a Blood and Marrow Clinical Trials Network clinical core center. The second grant, from the National Cancer Institute, will help establish survivorship programs for bone marrow transplant patients.

Dr. Stiff is a current recipient of a Perritt Foundation grant for research on dendritic cell cancer vaccines. Dr. Stiff also will continue researching ways to expand the number of stem cells and immune cells that can be derived from donated umbilical cord blood. In 2017, Dr. Stiff was awarded the Stritch medal, the Stritch School of Medicine's highest honor. The Stritch Medal recognizes outstanding accomplishments of a Loyola graduate or faculty member who exhibits dedication to research, education and patient care.

Dr. Small has earned an international reputation for research and treatment of gynecological malignancies and gastrointestinal and breast cancers. The leader of numerous national and international clinical trials, Dr. Small is co-chair of the NRG Oncology Gynecologic Committee, former chair of the NCI-funded Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Gynecologic Working Group and past chair of the Gynecologic Cancer InterGroup. He is a fellow of the American College of Radiation Oncology, American College of Radiology and American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Small is an author on more than 230 peer-reviewed publications, 30 invited book chapters and six books, including the recently published "Clinical Radiation Oncology: Indications, Techniques and Results," a leading textbook in the field of radiation oncology. He is past president of the Council of Affiliated Regional Radiation Oncology Societies and the Chicago Radiological Society and has served as chair of the Gynecologic Cancer InterGroup Cervix Cancer Committee.

Before joining Loyola, Dr. Small was vice chair of radiation oncology at Northwestern University. He completed medical school and residency training at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, located on Loyola Medicine's main campus in Maywood, is named after the late archbishop of Chicago, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. It is among the first centers to bring together in one building researchers and clinicians from all cancer service lines. The center includes clinic areas, chemotherapy services, research laboratories and the spa-like Coleman Foundation Image Renewal Center, which provides services such as hair care, breast prosthesis fittings and massage therapy.

"Under Dr. Stiff's leadership, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center has become one of the leading cancer treatment and research centers in the Midwest," Dr. Small said. "I am humbled to be given this opportunity to continue Dr. Stiff's legacy."

Nancy Zeleznik-Le, PhD, former interim director of the Oncology Research Institute, will serve as interim chair of this new department of cancer biology. The department will work collaboratively with researchers and clinicians at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. As interim chair, she will also serve as the deputy director and associate director for basic research of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.