Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio – Raphael E. Pollock, MD, PhD, known and respected worldwide as a gifted cancer surgeon and researcher and passionate educator of physicians-in-training, will become a professor and the director of the division of surgical oncology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center College of Medicine’s department of surgery.
Pollock will also serve as the chief of surgical services of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC–James). Pollock’s appointment is effective September 1, pending Ohio State’s Board of Trustees approval. He comes to Ohio State after 31 years at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he held several leadership roles, the most recent being head of the division of surgery.
Pollock’s clinical practice and laboratory research focus on soft tissue sarcoma, a rare cancer in adults but rather prevalent in children. He has published widely on sarcoma surgery and treatment, and his funded research includes sarcoma molecular biology and the development of novel therapeutics for this group of diseases. His laboratory work involves the discovery of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes in soft tissue sarcoma.
“Cancer is a complex series of diseases, and successfully treating cancer requires an understanding of each patient’s unique cancer at multiple levels, from the tumor tissue itself to the molecular and genetic footprint of the tumor cells,” said Dr. Michael Caligiuri, director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. “Raph brings to our cancer center a broad vision – the perspective of a skilled cancer surgeon as well as that of a scientist with 30 years in a National Institutes of Health-funded lab.”
Pollock is principal investigator of an $11.5 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to support collaborative sarcoma translational research. The NCI Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant, awarded to the Sarcoma Alliance for Research for Collaboration last fall, represents the largest award ever to study sarcoma.
The sarcoma SPORE grant research will now be located at OSUCCC-James, where Pollock aims to grow the sarcoma program and train residents and fellows in treatment of this cancer.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Raph to the Ohio State family,” said Dr. Robert Higgins, chair of the department of surgery at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “His expertise and international reputation as a groundbreaker in surgery, research and academics will enhance our clinical practice, enrich our students, and most importantly, benefit our patients.”
Pollock said he is excited to join Ohio State’s cancer program. “Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center is a nationally recognized cancer program embedded in a top-notch university that includes a free-standing cancer hospital in The James,” Pollock said. “That is a unique opportunity and tremendously appealing to me.”
An experienced surgical leader, Pollock said he is eager to take on the new role at Ohio State, where he will further enhance the multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment. “The pairing of innovative surgical solutions with discoveries in the burgeoning field of cancer genomics allows us to move in many different directions,” said Pollock, whose sarcoma specialty demands regular collaboration with gastrointestinal, urological, orthopedic, reconstructive and vascular surgeons, among others. “Using the sarcoma practice as a template, I will continue to work with other Ohio State leaders to build out multidisciplinary disease centers.”
Pollock is a graduate of Oberlin College, the St. Louis University School of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He completed surgical residencies at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics, both in his hometown of Chicago.
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (cancer.osu.edu) strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program’s 220-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a “Top Hospital” as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
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