UC Irvine physician receives National Cancer Institute leadership award

January 08, 2013
Dr. Jason Zell

UC Irvine’s Dr. Jason Zell is among 12 physicians from across the country to receive a Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The award recognizes exceptional cancer investigators for their contributions to the advancement of clinical research through collaborative team science.

Zell is a medical oncologist, an assistant professor of medicine and co-leader of the Colon Cancer Disease-Oriented Team at UC Irvine’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 45 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers and the only one in Orange County. The cancer team brings together basic scientists, epidemiologists, and subspecialty-based clinicians all focused on the treatment, control and prevention of colorectal cancer.

“I am greatly honored to receive this award from the National Cancer Institute,” said Zell “Through this award, the NCI has recognized the outstanding ‘team science’ conducted at UC Irvine’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.”

Zell and the other awardees are actively engaged in NCI-funded clinical trials and collaborate freely across disciplines, institutions, and programs to advance the design and conduct of cancer clinical trials. The clinical researchers also serve as mentors and academic role models for trainees and junior faculty interested in clinical research and clinical trials.

Colorectal cancer trials at UC Irvine’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center span the full spectrum of disease, ranging from prevention trials that test dietary modifications, aspirin and well-tolerated drugs such as metformin, to therapy-based trials that investigate laparoscopic versus robotic surgery for rectal cancer. UC Irvine also has trials for colon cancer survivors, and for patients with advanced stage disease that use novel biologic therapeutics.

Zell said the award also reflects the high-quality patient-centered clinical research conducted within UC Irvine’s Colon Cancer Disease-Oriented Team.

Designed for mid-level clinical investigators, these two-year awards provide recognition and up to $50,000 in annual funding for those who lead cancer research programs and clinical trials at NCI-designated centers. Recipients are expected to devote 10 to 15 percent of their time to the activities associated with the award.

Now in its fourth year, the Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award is part of NCI’s restructuring of the national cancer clinical trials enterprise in order to better support advances in oncology research.

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