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Fall 2008

Chair's Message

The specialty of musculoskeletal oncology deals with a complex and often rare array of conditions. There is no specialty where strong leadership and an integrated team are more important. This issue of Orthopaedic Surgery News highlights how we bring these qualities to our patients through the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco and our satellite clinics in Contra Costa and Marin counties.

Led by Richard J. O'Donnell, M.D., our musculoskeletal oncology program includes collaboration among specialists from areas within our department, such as the Spine Center, and from throughout UCSF Medical Center. The team approach includes surgeons, specialized nurses, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists and pathologists. These experts draw on an unusually rich clinical experience; many are pioneers who have performed numerous procedures rarely seen in other hospitals. In fact, in 2008, U.S. News & World Report has ranked UCSF's cancer program as No. 8 in the United States — and the best in California.

Our ability to bring state-of-the-art treatment to our patients also depends upon our research programs, as well as our participation in organizations such as the homegrown sarcoma treatment group, the international Spine Oncology Study Group and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Finally, the stories in this newsletter illustrate that we have access to the latest and most advanced diagnostic and treatment equipment.

Patient access to these services is of paramount importance. To facilitate access for those outside San Francisco, O'Donnell has established a weekly clinic in Pleasanton (Contra Costa County), and Dr. Shane Burch conducts a weekly clinic in Greenbrae (Marin County).

All of these factors offer powerful advantages for diagnosing and treating sarcoma and musculoskeletal tumors of all kinds. We hope you agree and will view the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF as your partner and resource in helping your patients confront these rare, often life-threatening conditions.

Thomas Parker Vail, M.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Related Information

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Stem Cells and Tissue Regeneration
With a major stem cell research grant, Ophir Klein, M.D., Ph.D, is exploring the molecular processes that regulate the behavior of dental stem cells in mice, with the goal of promoting tooth regeneration and treating craniofacial abnormalities in humans.